Just inside the door of Yosemite Wine Tails, a bona fide buffet decked with colorful mouthwatering treats, many covered with tantalizing yogurt icing, some shaped like pretzels, beer glasses and margaritas, catches the eye. While the first instinct may be to grab a small sampling for a quick taste, resist that urge. Those enticing appetizers are reserved for the four-leggers.
Just past the table is a wall rack filled with wine bottles, a liquid treat for wine devotees. A high custom-made cement bar makes the perfect height for wine tasting. Prior to layering the intention wall in the private tasting room with small wooden blocks, words like “peace, love, quiet, happiness, joy and success” were written. It’s a wall people seem drawn to.
The ambiance is cozy, the atmosphere soothing, something owner Collete Goga has worked hard to achieve. “There’s a lot of love, heart and intention in this whole place.”
The current owner of Oakhurst Pet & Feed Supply, it was Goga’s plan all along to start a new business phase in her life at her 10-year mark. This October marks her 9th year as owner of the pet shop, which she plans to sell.
“My husband, Grady, wanted me to serve wine at the feed store, and it kind of morphed into this ... ,” she said, spreading her arms wide and admiring how the former American Floor Covering building is thoughtfully being transformed, a vision evolving into her dream come true. “Given my passion for animals and my love of wine, this seemed like the perfect combination. It’s really that simple.”
Goga began the process in April 2015, and hopes to open the new business Oct. 1. She believes this is a good sign, since Oct. 1 was her opening day for Oakhurst Feed nine years ago.
In her new business venture, she will feature small wineries and breweries, offering about 50 varieties of wines, and bottled beers from Mammoth Brewing Company IPA 396, Six Rivers Brewery IPA India Pale Ale and Six Rivers Brewery Moonstone Porter. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome and encouraged to join their owners for a night out on the town. Along with the special treats for furry friends, humans can enjoy popcorn, nuts, jerky and caramel corn.
Each vendor Goga works with - whether it’s wine, beer, gifts (like soy candles or soaps), or treats must donate a portion of their profits to a non-profit animal group.
“I think it’s a great place for like-minded, pet-loving individuals to gather ... a happy place,” Goga continued. “It was driving me crazy that businesses along Highway 41 close at 6 or 7 p.m., except for grocery stores or restaurants, giving many out of town visitors nowhere to go. I hope this encourages them to stay in Oakhurst a little longer.”
Along with Goga, visitors may spot 3-year-old Ziggy, a Miniature Pincher, Lab and Corgi mix - her rescue dog - serving as greeter. At 8 months of age, he was locked in a horse trailer with no food or water. When he was found, he was full of ticks, fleas, infection, was dehydrated and emaciated, and rescuers held little hope that he would survive. Today, he is Goga’s constant companion.
“I feel so blessed and grateful,” Goga said. “Living in this community. Having the opportunities I’ve had. Being able to have my animals.
“I want my customers to come away with happy thoughts. I want them to enjoy themselves so much they come back with their friends,” Goga added. “I want this to be a place people want to gather for a fun time with friends and their furry kids.”
The main room has a capacity of 74, and will be rented out for special events. The private tasting room seats 12, with reservations needed.
Ryan Demeusey is in the process of carving a six-foot wooden bear with a dog tucked under the arm, which will stand outside the business offering plenty of photo ops.
Speaking of photos, once a month, an area business owner with a pet will be featured. Virgina Strauss will take a formal portrait of the pet and owner, and the framed 11x14 photo, with a brief bio, will be hung on the wall in the lounge area. The owner will state their favorite wine, and for that entire month, that particular wine will be on sale.
Yosemite Wine Tails hours are 5 - 11 p.m., Friday through Monday (hours and days subject to change), and is located at 40409 Highway 41.
Details: (559) 641-6400.