Hidden away in a remote river valley of a region historically known more for gold than grapes is COWHORN Vineyard & Garden, a boutique, Biodynamic®-certified estate winery whose first releases in 2006 were the toast of The James Beard Foundation and Oregon’s emerging eco-culinary scene. Fast forward a few years to 2013, and COWHORN’s 2009 Syrah was awarded Best of the West in Sunset Magazine, the 2009 COWHORN Reserve Syrah was named 50 Best Wines by Portland Monthly Magazine, and the 2012 COWHORN Spiral 36 was listed on the 2013 Top 100 Wines by Jon Bonné and the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate rated five COWHORN wines 92+ points in November, 2013, after rating seven COWHORN wines 91+ points in 2012. Earlier in 2011, the 2009 COWHORN Viognier was added to Paul Gregutt’s Top 100 Pacific Northwest Wines list.
Sharing qualities comparable to the world-renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape region of France’s southern Rhône Valley, COWHORN sits alongside Southern Oregon’s pristine Applegate River. The farm is fringed by frontier forests and supported by soils that are perfectly suited for classic Rhône grape varieties, Grenache, Marsanne, Roussanne, Syrah, and Viognier. As a result, COWHORN produces aromatic, balanced, fine wines with low alcohol that express signature subtleties of the farm’s unique soils.
Guided by horticulturist Alan York and consultant winemaker Ken Bernards, COWHORN planted its first eleven acres of vineyard in 2005. Using state-of-the-art technology, winemakers Bill and Barbara Steele gently and patiently nudge native yeast through the fermentation process on a mission to make fine wine with few inputs, going from grapes to glass as purely as possible.
COWHORN benefits from being surrounded by biodiversity that serves as a natural immune system for the vineyard and gardens. When combined with organic and Biodynamic farming methods, this symbiotic relationship not only minimizes the need for petrochemical pesticides but supports the vitality of the surrounding ecosystem. Over half of the 117-acre estate is reserved for habitat, forest and riparian areas. Only 29 acres are in cultivation, including 25 in vineyard and 4 for produce.
Because Biodynamic farming is deeply rooted in the practice of perennial polyculture, crops are selected that pair well in the field and on the table. COWHORN supplies 6,000-7,000 pounds of fresh asparagus to local markets and grocery stores. Depending on volumes and season, at certain times wine club members and tasting room visitors can purchase asparagus. Other areas of development include our lavender garden with 1,000 plants. Come visit, taste, experience!