Hidden away in a remote river valley of a region historically known more for gold than grapes is COWHORN, a boutique Demeter-certified Biodynamic estate winery whose first releases are the toast of The James Beard Foundation, Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit, and Oregon’s emerging eco-culinary scene.
Sharing qualities comparable to the world-renowned Chateauneuf-du-Pape region of France’s southern Rhone Valley, COWHORN sits alongside Southern Oregon’s pristine Applegate River. The farm is fringed by frontier forests on the edge of America’s great western wilderness and supported by soils that are perfectly suited for Grenache, Marsanne, Roussanne, Syrah, and Viognier. COWHORN’s classic Rhone varietals result in well-balanced wines with low alcohol and high aroma that express the signature subtleties of the farm’s unique soils.
Currently the only certified organic and Biodynamic winery in Southern Oregon, COWHORN is among the first certified Biodynamic estate wineries and commercial farms in the United States. Guided by holistic-estate advisor Alan York, consultant winemaker Ken Bernards, and environmental designer Buddy Williams, COWHORN planted its first eleven acres of vineyard in 2005. Using state-of-the-art technology, winemakers Bill and Barbara Steele gently 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 eliminates the need for petrochemical pesticides but supports the vitality of the surrounding ecosystem. Over half of the 117-acre estate is reserved for garden, habitat, forest and riparian areas with just 50 acres set aside for vineyards. Only 21 acres are currently in cultivation, including 17 in vineyard and 4 in gardens.
Their gentle approach includes complementary farming practices that create critical habitat breaks and wildlife corridors, leave landscapes untouched and intact, and remove invasive species to give native plants a chance to take root again. At COWHORN, scarecrows have given way to predator perches for raptors who in turn guard the grapes.
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. The first planting of asparagus, their second commercial crop, followed in 2006. By 2007, COWHORN’s garden was supplying thousands of pounds of fresh asparagus to local markets and co-ops, and its club members were receiving the bounty of the farm’s first food crop with their wine allotment.
Other crops in development include artichokes, cherries, and a test orchard for apples, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pears, and persimmons. The estate’s hazelnut trees have even been inoculated with European black truffle.
- Open to Public
- Tours By Appointment Only
- Tasting Room
- Bus/RV parking
- Wheelchair accessibility
TASTING ROOM INFORMATION
1665 Eastside Road
Tasting Room Hours:
Tasting Fee: $5
(Refunded With Purchase)