How did Grapehounds begin?
Larry and Susie Bowersox began coming to the Finger Lakes in about 2004 with Homer, Caesar and Lexie to help an old friend build a cabin on Lake Owasco.
Our friend Neal invited us to go wine tasting on several of these trips, we enjoyed it, and we saw an opportunity to combine greyhounds and wine tasting.
Frustrated at greyhound events held in a parking lot where there was no place to sit down all day, we reverse-engineered Grapehounds to be a relaxed weekend with good food, music, spectacular scenery (like Lake Owasco above ) and plenty of places to plop down in a lawn chair, meet new friends, and enjoy the weekend.
It wasn't easy. Wineries couldn't picture barking, aggressive dogs in their wineries. They had no idea how gentle and mellow greyhounds are. We had to do some serious sighthound education. Still, many wineries said "No."
Today, we have almost 30 participating wineries in New York alone. These wineries have figured out that greyhound folks are wonderful customers. Hotels, too, were incredulous about how good greyhound guests would be. After much negotiation, our first event for one day in July of 2006 on Cayuga Lake drew 229 registrants and we've never looked back.
Today, Grapehounds works in New York to raise awareness about ex-racing greyhounds as pets, and raise thousands of dollars every year for regional greyhound adoption efforts. Our wineries welcome all the greyhounds and our hotels not only welcome your greyhounds but most waive all pet fees.
Watkins Glen is set among the lakes, gorges, and waterfalls of the Finger Lakes of New York.
This setting is perfect for a weekend or a week away with your favorite significant other and your greyhound.
The Grapehound Wine Tour®
How can my greyhound adoption group participate?
We hold a cash raffle for any 501(c)(3) greyhound adoption group which lists our Grapehounds events on their website. Over $1,000 in cash is given in July to greyhound adoption groups who list us on their website. Or, attend and help stage the event closest to your group and we will share the proceeds with you. We have groups which stage the ice cream social, do doggie babysitting, or help with registration. There are many opportunities. Call Larry for details: 717-669-8723.
The view of Lake Owasco (the next lake east of Cayuga Lake) from Neal's cabin is incredible.
Do I have to register?
If no one registered, the event would have to close. If you like having many national greyhound vendors and hundreds of greyhound people come to Virginia and New York, you should support the event. Your registration money supports the costs of the event and supports local greyhound adoption. The only folks who should not register are children, those accompanying registrants who have no interest in tasting wine, or those who wish to visit the vendor tents then leave for home. If you want to taste wine or enjoy the event for the weekend, then you should register.
Can I bring my dog of another breed?
Well behaved canine siblings of sighthounds are welcome to attend.
We discourage people from bringing small dogs, such as tiny poodles, as many sighthounds will see them as prey. Greyhounds have such unique qualities that they are especially well-suited for an event like this.
Other breeds of dogs -- especially those which are aggressive or like to bark -- are not well suited for a social event like Grapehounds. Attendees should not assume that because their Pit Bull gets along with their greyhound that he will get along with all greyhounds.
Dogs with aggressive tendencies or which like to bark should be left at home or kept outside the crowded tasting rooms. All attendees are responsible for the behavior and safety of their dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does my registration fee pay for?
It pays for your commemorative wine glass, numerous wine tastings, tote bags, car magnets or decals, tent rentals, trash removal, novelty give-aways, snack foods, liability insurance, permit fees, fire extinguishers required for the tent permits, all of the costs associated with putting on an event for hundreds of people.