PNW and BC April 2019 travel blog

Cowhorn Tasting Venue

With Kelsy

Schmidt Winery

Mama and chicks Near Camp


April 27, 2019

I awoke in the middle of the night realizing that our sleeping bag was 180 degrees of what it should have been. LOL! You would think we had not done this before!!

Beautiful day for our singular event, Cowhorn Winery. We took the very scenic route off of Hwy 238, Kubli Road, through Applegate (a 3-building town!) into Jacksonville. Reminded us very much of Dry Creek Road in Sonoma but with many more dairy and horse farms set in a valley bounded by mountains. Once in Jacksonville we realized our Cowhorn appointment was 30 minutes earlier than we thought. If you can imagine in this two-horse town, we were in a traffic jam because of utility works on a Saturday!!

Cowhorn now has a small, but lovely tasting facility circa 2016. This is a biodynamic, pioneering-Rhone inspired, organic, boutique winery in the southern Rogue valley. Is owned by Bill and Barbara Steele who are both active daily. Kelsy, a MI bio-agriculture graduate, hosted us. We sat in a lovely private area looking out over the vineyards towards the mountains. The tables were unique. The glass tables were supported by radiant heaters. Very interesting. The climate is cool with a propensity for fog.

Cowhorn has 117 acres of which 24 are vine planted and 3 with asparagus. (Lavender is in there somewhere!). They produce 3500 cases of which 60% goes to the 600 wine club members. We tasted 4 wines. ( all others were sold out). We were there for 1.5 hours with Kelsy talking about the wines from a farming perspective but also, left for us to enjoy our wines by ourselves which was a nice touch. Labeling of the wines is unique. Started with 2017 Spiral 36 which is Marsanne driven white with Rousanne and Viognier. Grapes come from vineyard blocks 3 and 6, thus the name! This was followed by 2014 Syrah 8. The 8 refers to the days of fog exposure which has gone as high as 80. Bill is advised every morning of the fog exposure on his phone app which allows him to get up and set on the sprinklers to control the grape freezing. This wine is finished with a touch of Viognier. The 2014 Sentience is a syrah blend of separate clone blocks and it’s name refers to “the thoughts before an emotion”! To finish we had the 2017 reserve Viognier which is so full bodied that it can withstand prior red tasting. Unusal!

Kelsy was delightful and so refreshing that we were somewhat surprised by her tattoo inspirations. She explained that all of the flower tattoos on her arms represented her beloved family members. Sweet! We bought the Spiral 36 and Sentience.

We decided to go to Schmidt Winery that had a walk up kitchen. Returned the beautiful ride we previously took. Schmidt is a much larger producer and we didn’t do much other than have a pizza and antipasti for lunch with their cabernet. (not memorable). The ambiance was absolutely delightful, however, and worth a stop.

Back to camp for a nap and showers. For a moment I thought I had left my camera at Schmidt only to find it between the front seats. I think we are getting older!!!!

For dinner we had BBQ ribs and coleslaw. It was a treat as we usually oven bake our ribs at home. 2015 Frank Family Vineyards cabernet came out from under the bed tonight!

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