Perlis Picks: Cisco, Former Mascot at Tobin James Cellars

Our esteemed publisher Eve Bushman has had her articles in the Wine Dogs books as well as the sister Wine Cats publication. While I have provided editorial assistance to her on these projects, I have never attempted to write on this topic myself. So here I go, not for the Wine Dogs books but for the enjoyment [hopefully] of Eve’s Wine 101 readers.

If you visit winery tasting rooms at all, you could easily come to the conclusion that all wineries have dogs [or cats] and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. And long before I even considered the daunting task of writing about our tasting room visits for Eve’s Wine 101, we went to a lot of them as eager customers. And yes, we were one of those families who brought our young son with us.

Most of the wineries he found pretty boring, but he always enjoyed our visits to Tobin James Cellars in Paso Robles.

Not only did they have the coolest free video games of any tasting room, but there were also two adorably friendly puppies that our son could run around with all over the place. This was fine with us, as our visits to Tobin James Cellars always were [and still are] one of our favorite places to while away an hour or more when visiting Paso.

Cisco_memorial (2)Sadly, one of the puppies did end up getting hit by a car [not during one of our visits!] and unfortunately he did not survive. The other one passed away what seems like fairly recently, although I expect it was longer ago than I think.

Needing now to fill in the blanks, I reached out to Claire Silver, co-owner of Tobin James Cellars. Her reply:

“I am honored to write about our special Cisco…

Cisco was our very dearly loved mascot of the winery.  His twin brother, Jesse, was hit by a car, I believe in 1995.   Cisco was a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd.  He enjoyed a very long happy life at Tobin James and he used to love to belly up to the bar.  He was our official greeter, escorting customers to the Tasting Room from the parking lot.  Customers would bring him treats and he would share their picnics with them.

 He grew up in the Tasting Room and was an integral part of every day in the Tasting Room, every winery event, every crush (he loved fermenting grapes and eating pizza with the crush guys during harvest).   He knew so many customers and everybody loved him.  He passed after cancer complications when he was fifteen years old in 2008.

  Folks still ask about him and we all still miss him so very much.  His sweet spirit is pervasive here at the winery, and his funny antics are reminisced by all his adoring fans.  I am getting misty typing this….”

They say all dogs go to heaven. I can’t say if they do or they don’t, but, if they do, I am sure there is a special place for wine dogs.

Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at or