SAN RAMON — Patches, at first, doesn't seem like a likely candidate to be featured on a bottle of premium wine.
The energetic purebred brittany with a strong sense of smell was once abandoned and had been scheduled to euthanized.
But for Patches' owners Kelly Naughtin and Matt Raymond, the 6-year-old's story is perfect for their wine business, Canine Wines. Patches will be featured on the label of their 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet.
Each bottle of wine produced by Canine Wines features a photo of a dog adopted from an animal shelter on the front label and the dog's story on the back.
The company donates $5 from each bottle they sell and 10 percent of their sales to animal rescue groups, as well as donating cases of wines for fundraising events. In two years, Canine Wines has donated more than $16,000 in wine donations and cash from sales.
"It has meaning to us, instead of just making and selling wine, " Raymond said.
Naughtin and Raymond, who both have full-time high-tech jobs, operate their mostly online wine business from their San Ramon home. They don't own a vineyard. They purchase grapes and use the facilities at Crushpad Inc. in San Francisco to make the wine.
The bottles sell for $28 to $65 bottle. They hope as business grows to be able to work full-time on Canine Wines and offer their wines at stores. They have a wine shop in Modesto that sells their wine and they are looking for local stores to carry their products.
The idea for the wine company began two years ago. Naughtin and Raymond enjoy a good glass of wine and wanted to make their own, but they needed a concept and label. Then they looked at Joey, an Australian shepherd mix Naughtin had adopted from a shelter, and the idea was born. Joey was on the label of the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon.
"We were looking for a passion," Naughtin said. "We wanted to do more for animal rescue."
The adoption stories featured on the labels come from people they meet or partner organizations.
"When people heard what we were doing they started offering their adopted dogs," Naughtin said.
Sparky's story, for example, came from the East Bay SPCA, which has partnered with Canine Wines since 2007. Featured on the bottles of 2006 Pinot Noir. Sparky went from a shelter dog to the job of keeping geese away at the Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville.
Canine Wines has partnered with the East Bay SPCA since 2007, when Naughtin contacted them, said East Bay SPCA spokeswoman Eliza Fried.
She said she was impressed with the Naughtin's and Raymond's dedication to animal rescue. Besides offering wine that the organization's donors seem to enjoy, she said Canine Wines is doing a service.
"It's so important to tell these stories and people are going to read them. They have this beautiful bottle in front of them," Fried said.
For more information about Canine Wines, visit www.k9wines.com.
Reach Sophia Kazmi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 925-847-2122.