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Martha Clara Vineyards goes to the dogs

Juan Micieli-Martinez, Martha Clara Vineyards general manager and

Juan Micieli-Martinez, Martha Clara Vineyards general manager and winemaker, poses with his dog Satchmo, a 5-year-old hound and doberman mix, after giving a tour of the vineyards in Riverhead during the Cinco de Mayo Vines and Canines Educational Vineyard Walk. (May 5, 2012) Credit: Brittany Wait

After Gail and Tom Manion rescued their yellow Labrador, Daisy, from being cooped up in a backyard, they vowed to keep her active and playing.

On Saturday, the Smithtown couple and their now 3-year-old lab stopped by Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead and took part in the Cinco de Mayo Vines and Canines Educational Walk.

“We were out picking up our wine anyways and there was such a nice and interesting array of dogs here walking,” said Gail Manion.

Winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez brought along his dog Satchmo, a 5-year-old hound and Doberman mix, while he give a 45-minute guided tour of the vineyard.

“It’s a great opportunity to come and experience the vineyards, get a good walk, do something healthy and do it with your furry canine friends,” said Micieli-Martinez, 34, of Riverhead.

Micieli-Martinez, who has worked for the vineyard since 2007, gave the history of the 200-acre farm, and how he harvests the grapes to make 24 different types of wines.

He explained the winemaking process along with the geography and history of the vineyard to about 60 dog owners and their pets along an almost 2-mile stretch, among rows of grapevines.

The dog walk began in 2010 and although it’s free to the public, he asked for donations of nonperishable pet food and supplies.

He rescued Satchmo from the Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton and since then has kept him active while walking the vineyards during work.

“I wouldn’t call him a calm dog in general, he’s got a lot of energy, which has prompted us, my wife and I, to walk a lot with him because we know that he needs to burn off that energy,” Micieli-Martinez said. “My wife suggested I do a walk where you bring people around and explain what you see in the vineyard.”

Shawn Taylor brought his 8-year-old black Labrador Maggie, another rescue dog, to the vineyard.

“It’s nice. It gets the dogs out and you get some exercise while you’re learning something,” said Taylor, 49, of Hicksville. “You’re helping out other dogs, too.”


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