Thursday, 25 October 2012

Napa’s first “dog winery” launched by Boisset

Pampered pooches prick up your ears – the ever-flamboyant Jean Charles Boisset has launched Napa Valley’s first “dog winery” featuring kennel spaces and wine-barrel dog beds in an ode to his beloved French bulldog. As reported on, Frenchie Winery, named after the bulldog he gave to wife Gina Gallo (above), forms part of Raymond Vineyards; a St Helena winery Boisset bought three years ago.

Housed in a large white shed at the back of Raymond’s biodynamic garden, the winery boasts an enclosed play area for visiting hounds, and five individual kennel spaces for them to sleep, complete with luxurious wine-barrel beds. Above the kennels hang paintings of Frenchie in various historical guises, from Napoleon to Louis XIV, and even cross-dressing as Marie Antoinette.

The thoughtful Boisset has also installed a “Frenchie cam” in the shed, so owners can keep a watchful eye on their dogs while they’re in the Raymond Vineyards tasting room. “It’s like daycare, it’s awesome,” dog owner Elizabeth Schroeter said after a recent visit. “We treat the dogs the same as humans. I want to create tasting paces where people – and dogs – can have a blast,” Boisset added.

The Frenchie range comprises three wines: Marie Antoinette Chardonnay ($18), Louis XIV Cabernet Sauvignon ($30), and Napoleon ($30) – a red blend. The labels feature paintings of Frenchie dressed up as the three historical figures. Boisset’s move is shrewd, aiming to attract a portion of America’s 46 million dog owners that don’t want to leave their canines at home when they go wine tasting.

Dog-friendly wineries are already popular in California, with Napa Valley boasting 96 that welcome four-legged friends. Burgundy born Boisset looks after the American arm of Burgundy-based wine empire Boisset Famille des Grands Vins, founded by his father in 1961. In 2009, he married Gallo’s chief winemaker Gina Gallo, cementing one of the most powerful wine family unions in history. The pair have one-year-old twin girls. 

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