If you want to find a winemaker - just whistle! Or so they say. Are winemakers so well-trained that they come to heel when called? Well no, but their dogs generally are and if you find the dog, the winemaker won't be far behind. Nearly every winemaker and viticulturist seems to have a lovely four-legged friend tagging along behind them and now, the dogs are becoming almost as big a selling point as the wine itself. A project in Australia called Wine Dogs has recently published its second book of photographs of winemaker’s dogs and apparently the book is selling up a storm all over the country. Cute, fluffy, melting-eyes and wine – what’s not to love?
Starting small but still cute, local winemaker Lorna Hughes is also pushing her dog, Bristle, forward as the happy and hairy face of her winery, Stonehill. Bristle, a rescue mutt, now has two wines to his name and in order to support other abandoned pooches like him, Lorna has decided to use her wines to direct some cash towards The Stellenbosch Animal Welfare Society. She has purchased 20,000 stickers which she has attached to her bottles of wine and every time somebody chooses a Stonehill product, a few cents are donated directly to the Society.
‘It’s a cause that's close to my heart and is a really simple but easy way of helping those creatures which bring us such joy but which don't have a voice" says Lorna, and since there are no additional charges to the consumer, it seems to be a win-win situation all round. Other pooch-fans who will be taking part in this initiative include Adoro wines and it is hoped that many other wineries will soon follow suit in support of their four-footed friends. Stonehill wines are available from the farm (073 420 3300) or selected retailers.