Lawmakers Approve Bill that would Allow Dogs to Accompany Owners to Vineyards, Breweries

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The law would only apply to dogs and is discretionary per establishment. The law would only apply to dogs and is discretionary per establishment.

A bill approved by Virginia lawmakers may allow dogs to tag along to your favorite vineyard or brewery this summer.

If the governor signs House Bill 286 into law, breweries and wineries will allow pet owners to bring dogs inside establishments. 

“It seems to me it’s always been a shady issue and I guess it's a good thing they're giving some clarification,” said Roe Allison, owner and wine maker of Reynard Florence Vineyard.

Bill 286 passed by the General Assembly clears up that confusion. Now, it’ll be left to individual winery and brewery owners to decide if dogs are welcome.

“I voted for it, I think that if people want to bring their dog to a winery and the winery wants to let the dog come in, that's probably something they can work out without the government telling them no,” said Delegate Rob Bell.

The law would only apply to dogs and excludes establishments that serve food.

“We're probably going to encourage people to keep their dogs outside on the patio especially as the weather starts to get nicer, but again it gives us the flexibility to allow them to come inside with their dog if they need to make an order or if something happens,” said Three Notch’d Brewing Brand Manager Jack Murray.

Many places already offer a dog-friendly patio or outdoor space, so some are skeptical the law will really impact business. Still, not everyone is on board. 

Redbeard Brewing Company in Staunton shared a statement on its Facebook page saying that the establishment will not allow dogs inside for safety reasons.

Reynard Florence Vineyard says it will only allow dogs that are well-behaved and on a leash. 

If Governor Northam signs the bill, it would be instated on July 1.