When we embarked on this journey west to Larson Family Vineyards in Sonoma, California, Todd expressed enthusiasm for me coming with him. “You’re going to love this place,” he said, “It’s just your style.” This warmed me and I took it as a compliment, although I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant. When we parked in the driveway in the early morning dark and I opened the car door, three wet noses welcomed me. I knew what my sweet husband had meant. Yellow Sunny, chocolate Bubba, black Pete have become some of my favorite furry friends, and I’ve had a LOT of furry friends. The dogs roam the vineyards, take morning jogs with guests, greet all who come to the tasting room, and hang out back of the Captain’s house where Todd and I stay. They have come to rely on me for bacon in the morning and some kind of fatty leftovers from the grill at night. By now, they know my footsteps and come running to the back door when I walk across the deck. These three bubbas have done everything to reinforce my experiences and love with Labs.
Pete is chill as black labs go. Laid back, head of the pack, coy, but first to alert.
Sunny is obsessed with food. Not to say the others are not, but none are as focused on edible items as Sunny. I like to sneak out back and call Pete for vittles first—he sits politely and patiently, tail tapping the ground while I pick out the best pieces and feed him by hand. He wont eat off my plate if I set it on the ground—I guess he finds it rude—so when Sunny comes scrambling, nosing me in the rear end, I make him sit, put the plate on the ground and he pounces.
Bubba is sweet and simple. Not the brightest, but athletic and sensible. His favorite past-time is running, and he loves the opportunity to lead the way through the vineyards, bravely chasing off birds and rabbits, turning around with a proud, approved grin, tongue hanging.
Earning their reputation as the winery welcome crew, The Larsons thought the Labradors deserved their own wine, so dedicated a Cabernet Sauvignon to the boys: Three Lab Cab.