VinPro Ltd is happy to encourage pets at work.

Many of the staff who work for the Cromwell-based contract bottling, winemaking, warehousing and distribution company have dogs.

They can also work long hours, particularly during harvesting and bottling, which can mean they are unable to spend as much time with their dogs as they wish to.

Customer relations manager Clementine McGregor said chief executive Craig Coote had a fenced area built on site for the dogs in February, which meant they could come to work with their owners.


Since then, about five dogs spend working hours in the space, with another three coming in a few days a week.

They have plastic clamshells for water drinking and swimming, shade sails, an old doorless fridge as a kennel, lots of toys and what used to be a grass area, but is now fully dug up.

Customer relations manager Clementine McGregor with (from front to back) Billie, Hagrid, Tui, Ellie and Freddy. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara
Customer relations manager Clementine McGregor with (from front to back) Billie, Hagrid, Tui, Ellie and Freddy. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara

However, while the dogs are allowed on site, they are not allowed in the winery or bottling sections, nor in the warehouse or storage areas, for health and safety reasons.

''The guys in the winery do massive hours over harvesting, up to about 70 hours a week, and they don't have time to walk their dogs when they get home,'' McGregor said.

''VinPro built the big sunny and sheltered enclosure for the dogs and so the staff can bring them [and] walk them at lunchtime.''

She said it was not only the dog owners who visited the enclosure.

''We have got a lot of [non-dog-owning] staff who come and give them cuddles.

''They find it is really therapeutic, especially at the peak busy times.


''They would pop down during breaks, pet them and give them a bit of ruffling and then leave smiling.

''It is really nice.''

McGregor and two other staff members also bring their own dogs to work, which stay in the administration office with their owners.

McGregor has Ellie, a 6-year-old golden retriever, while Freddy a 5-month-old golden cocker spaniel is owned by Eden Coote, and Scarlett, a Swiss or white shepherd, is owned by Stephanie Jones.

McGregor said she first asked her then-boss Morley Hewitt if she could bring Ellie to work about six years ago, before getting her as a puppy.

''That determined whether I got a puppy or not and he said that was fine.''

That additional time with Ellie meant she could spend a lot more time training her.

''Some dogs, like Ellie, have been able to grow up here and have constant human [and dog] interactions.

''Our suppliers see our dogs here and say how lucky we are.''

VinPro dogs include Billie (12) and Hagrid (3), owned by Philippa Battley, Tui (5), owned by Emma Ewan, Billy, owned by Phil Anderson, and Bella and Bruno, owned by Pete Bartle.