By Chuck Desmond

After the thankfully and deliciously-wet winter we’ve had, man-oh-man, it’s just time to be outside and enjoy our patios and barbecues. And in the North County, there’s nothing that goes better with those than our favorite wines. It’s probably time to restock the depleted wine closet and get out for some tastings, plus revisit our favorite wineries as well as the new ones that have sprung up. That, fellow wine-buffs, brings us to Wine 4 Paws.

Paso folks Sarah Tomasetti, her husband Steve and some friends were enjoying wine in their back yard with their dogs chasing around and getting in on the fun… but without the wine! Eventually, the conversation got around to figuring out that they could combine both pets and wine.

“Let’s do something good for the community and have fun too.”

Win-win.

With the Tomasettis’ drive, the idea of enlisting wineries to be the backbone of raising funds to support the cause became a reality. While we love our own pets, the wineries are also ga-ga over them. Tasting rooms have cats up in window baskets with maybe one eye open and a tail moving just enough to let us know they are real; all breeds of hounds, from sloppy-deep-woofed droolers to back flipping little-guys have their tails-a-waggin’. Tasting room visitors just seem to love ’em.
To not know Wine 4 Paws, you’d have to have spent the past 10 years in a cave or ya just moved here. Y’all know it’s just North-County-chic to have a rescue dog or two sleepin’ on the porch or a few cats curled up in the sun. It’s part of what makes us Central Coast-ites. We also know that not every dog and cat is in an ideal situation. However WOODS HUMANE SOCIETY helps protect homeless pets… and that doesn’t come for free. Fundraisers are a primary source of curing those financial ills and Wine 4 Paws is a major helper, bringing wine enthusiasts, wineries and pet lovers together in one of the most fun ways ever… and this is the 11th straight year of doing it! Buying wine is something we’re gonna do anyway, so do it during Wine 4 Paws weekend to help support this important work.

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With a dozen volunteers, the April weekend event has gained both notoriety and fundraising awareness. On average, about $40,000 is raised each year! Funds are used for food, bedding, vet services, adoption marketing, spay/neuter services and keepin’ the electricity on. In addition, WOODS recently opened the first North County low-cost spay ‘n’ neuter clinic for cats and dogs that any pet owner can use. See spayslocounty.org.

This year, just short of 100 wineries, plus Olivas do Oro Olive Oil Company, Earth and Fire Brewery, Milestone Tavern in San Luis Obispo, and Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ have signed on to help.

Tackitt Family Vineyards and Venteux Vineyards have specialty crafted and named wines this year just for the occasion! Everyone’s support makes Wine 4 Paws a fabulous total-community-involvement fundraiser.

Hands up and sing praises, we finally have our nice weather. Load your friends into the SUV and go wine tasting. Stock up for your tri-tip barbecues and buy your wine this weekend. It’s good for you, the local economy and fabulous help for our community’s pets!

Here’s how it works: The participating wineries and sponsors donate a portion of their sales-proceeds to Wine 4 Paws during the weekend. Donation jars on wine-tasting counters collect funds that go for the cause.

Beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 6, “Bark After Dark” kicks off the fundraising weekend with select downtown wineries and Jeffry’s donating 10 percent of all sales!
There will be live music, food, a photo contest and wine by the glass. Print out your own wine destination map from the website or get one at the first tasting room you visit. Help generate a donation and have your passport stamped. At the end of the weekend, turn it in and become eligible for prizes and certificates.

If you’d like to have your own Wine 4 Paws shirt, a coffee mug or a variety of dog items, log onto CafePress.com/Wine4Paws and you’ll see the entire collection of souvenirs to order.

Thank you to the Tomasettis and crew for their tireless work to help those who can’t help themselves! Let’s drink, woof, meow and raise a paw to them!
To donate or ask a question, visit Wine4Paws.com.

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