Our donkeys are as much a part of our identity as the old log cabin. In fact, people remember us as “the winery with the donkeys.”
Back in 2008, Raymond and Donna Castleberry bought a little four-month-old Sicilian donkey and named him “Hotie,” pronounced HO-tee. He’s Donkey Hotie, get it?
Sometime later, Raymond acquired another Sicilian donkey, this one a female. He named her Dulcinea because that was Don Quixote’s love-interest in Cervantes’ novel.
They are miniature donkeys, known for their friendly and affectionate nature. But they can be fiercely territorial and protective. That’s why you see them in fields with horses, goats, and cows. If they, or their charges, are attacked, they will kick and stomp a predator, such as a coyote, to death. Raymond got them to protect the sheep he had on the property.
Sadly, Hotie died of a sudden heart attack March 2018. He was not old but he had health problems as a consequence of diabetes.
In December of 2018, we got a baby donkey. None of us had the heart to name him Hotie II. So we named him Elliott, after the race car drivers, Bill and Chase Elliott, who live in Dawsonville. (Our Vineyard Manager, Bobby, is a rabid race car fan.)
Claire with Elliott and Dulci