People ask us, “Why Two Terrier Vineyards?” We say, “Why not?” We had the terriers and, if you are still fumbling your way through winemaking, a couple of cute dogs on the label can’t hurt. Problem is, we’re currently down one terrier. And with the labels already printed for the Cabernet and the Syrah, we’ve got a quota to meet.

Problem is, Smooth Fox Terriers, like Charlie and Lucy above, are not the easiest dogs to come by. They don’t seem to be readily available, except in the serious breeding community. And the breeders seem to be committed to keeping this a dog for the professionals only. The only time they allow one to go to what they call “a pet home” (often said with barely disguised disdain) is when one doesn’t come up to scratch for the show ring. That was the case with our dearly departed Charlie (with the brown head). His ears were too low, his tail was too curly, he mooched around instead of walking alert — all things that made him a show ring dropout, but which we thought made him even cuter. Lucy we got because the breeder prefers predominately white dogs and Lucy’s Holstein markings made her look more like a Ben and Jerry’s cow than a Morgansonne Champion.

So now we’re anxiously awaiting the development of two recent litters. If anyone is a show ring washout, we might get one. Then there is a back up litter from one of Lucy’s sisters that might produce a reject.

Of course, we could get a dog other than a Smooth Fox Terrier. But that would be too easy. We’ve got a litany of rationales: Terriers are bred to kill rats and vermin. Check. Need that for the under construction barn and the vineyards where critters are already moving in. Problem is our dogs are completely citified in their tastes. They won’t even eat dogfood that isn’t of the organic expensive variety. Rats? Vermin? Please! Terriers are bold and fearless. Perfect for land that currently hosts a mountain lion, at least one bobcat and a host of coyotes. Again, a problem. The coyotes I’ve encountered with the dogs have barely been able to muster a look of contempt at their barking. And from what I’m reading, sending your dog down a trail where you think a predatory large cat might be lurking won’t protect you. It’s like laying out the appetizers before the main course.

Yes, terriers are all great in theory. But in this Green Acres fantasy of ours, our dogs are definitely playing the Eva Gabor part.

So we’ll just say, we love them. And now poor Charlie is buried above the little man-made pond and waterfall we’ve called Lake Charles. So the Terrier Emeritus is now part of the terroir.

Our only challenge in the dog department now: restraining ourselves if more than one puppy becomes available. But I can always have a pack trailing after me like the Queen has her Corgis.

A note on that “cute dogs on the label” theory.

We recently made a case available for the auction at the West Coast Fox Terrier Breeders Annual Meeting. It was a big seller with the wine going for $45 a bottle! Two Terrier Vineyards Cabernet. Number One among specialty dog breeders. Yeah, it’s a niche market, but we OWN it.

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