Mar 20, 2015

Wine Cats



By Mike Raven

Our good friend, Kanika Dhawan from Sommelier India Wine Magazine, shared an interview with us she did with Craig and Susan in November 2013.

How did you decide to write about wine dogs and cats?

We’d travel to wineries and be greeted by dogs. We’d take a picture with the dog, and we’d look back and every second photo was a dog photo. We said there was probably a book in this. We have now published 11 “Wine Dogs” books, showcasing winemakers’ hounds from America, Australia, Italy and New Zealand. And after years of requests from cat lovers around the world, we have just released our first “Wine Cats” book this year.

Do dogs, cats and other animals in a vineyard help the winemakers in any way, or are they just faithful companions?

We feel that wine dogs and cats make for a friendlier atmosphere when customers arrive. Going to a winery can be quite intimidating for first time visitors, and it’s a big mystery for young people. Also, making wine is a lot of work and winemakers often work late at night. Dogs and cats provide great companionship and there’s a strong bond between the owners and their animals. That really comes through in the books.

Can you share an interesting anecdote about a cat from a winery?

New Zealand Master of Wine and wine writer Bob Campbell has a very large, 8.5 kg (18+ lbs.) orange cat called Mr. Wu, who sits with Bob during his wine tastings. Bob noticed that every now and again, when he pulled the cork out of a bottle, Mr. Wu would make a strange sound but didn’t make the sound when Bob opened a screw cap closure. Bob was amazed to discover that Mr. Wu actually has a special talent that enables him to sniff out cork taint!


Cover photo

Curly Flat Vineyard
Lancefield, Victoria – Australia
Owner: Jenifer Kolkka
Pet peeve: Being locked out of the kitchen when chefs cook for winery lunches
Obsession: Keeping dogs out of his territory
Favorite pastime: Schmoozing with cellar door visitors
Naughtiest deed: Displaying decapitated mice on Jeni’s bedroom carpet
Known accomplice: Yertle, the tortoiseshell cat



Voyager Estate Winery
Margaret River, Western Australia – Australia
Owner: Heather Brown
Favorite toys: Balls and toy mouse
Favorite food: Fish
Pet peeve: Dogs
Obsession: Herself
Favorite pastime: Sleeping
Naughtiest deed:  Clawing furniture
Known accomplice: Butterball Brown


Wine-cats-2HENRY IV

PlumpJack Winery
Napa, CA – USA
Owner: PlumpJack Winery
Favorite toys: Cork trees and catnip
Obsessions: Reading Shakespeare and jumping at the office window trying to catch birds
Favorite pastime: Taking office chairs from employees
Naughtiest deed: Lying on PlumpJack t-shirts in the tasting room and then scaring visitors when he moves, as his fur blends in so well




Bethel Heights Vineyard
Salem, OR – USA
Owner: Pat Dudley
Pet peeve: Rain
Favorite pastime: Walking with Jack the dog
Naughtiest deed: Climbing the porch screen


Sepia Wine
Sydney, New South Wales – Australia  
Owner: Martin Benn
Favorite toy: The laser beam
Favorite food: Jamon Iberico
Pet peeve: The cleaners
Obsession: Drinking water from the tap
Favorite pastime: Jumping on Martin’s back
Naughtiest deed: Digging holes in the pot plants and using them as her toilet


Lago Giuseppe Winery
Templeton, CA – USA
Morgan Aanerud
Favorite toy: Her brother, Blanc
Pet peeve: Getting thrown out of the house when she’s trying to knead your face
Obsession: Birds
Favorite pastimes: Hunting, then sleeping
Known accomplices: Blanc, Comida and Mia


Lago Giuseppe Winery
Templeton, CA – USA
Jeanine Mistretta
Favorite toy: His sister, Franc
Pet peeve: Being locked out of the bedroom
Obsession: Meowing
Favorite pastime: Stretching out on someone’s lap
Naughtiest deed: Jumping up on the counter in search of dinner



Bargetto Winery
Soquel, CA – USA
Bargetto Winery
Favorite food: Deli cold cuts, especially turkey
Pet peeve: Getting his tuxedo dirty
Obsession: Welcoming winery guests in his tuxedo
Favorite pastime: Napping on the heater in the laboratory
Naughtiest deed: Dancing the night away at wedding parties



Sausal Winery
Healdsburg, CA – USA
Owner: Sausal Winery
Favorite toy: Rubber bands
Favorite foods: Caesar salad and turkey
Pet peeves: Dogs and not being given treats
Favorite pastime: Begging for picnic treats
Naughtiest deed: Opening drawers to find and eat food



Dutch Henry Winery
Calistoga, CA – USA
Owner: Scott Chafen
Favorite toy: Dry oak leaves
Pet peeve: Diet cat food
Obsession: Being a professional hunter
Naughtiest deed: Playing with field mice
Favorite pastime: Patrolling her territory



Kendall-Jackson Winery
Fulton, CA – USA
Owner: Kendall-Jackson Winery
Favorite toys: The small lizards on the patio
Favorite food: Anything the winery chefs make
Pet peeve: Trips to the vet
Obsession: Posing for photos for tasting room visitors
Favorite pastime: Lounging in the sun