Leaving careers in finance in California, where they had been living an organic, holistic lifestyle, the couple bought a 117-acre parcel of land about 15 miles west of Ashland and spent several years clearing the property of weeds and rocks while working on a master plan for their now certified biodynamic farm, Cowhorn Vineyard and Farm.
Incredibly, in such a short time each bottle in Cowhorn’s portfolio of wines has gone on to score 92 points or more, and Wine Advocate has gone on record saying their wines can stand up next to the world’s best Rhone and Rhone-inspired wines.
Cowhorn is available exclusively at J Webb Wine Merchant in Calgary.
Oregon native Tony Soter spent 30 years working as a wine consultant in California before returning to Oregon to invest his life savings in this incredibly beautiful and promising parcel of land now known as Mineral Springs Ranch. Here, near the 45th parallel, a latitude similar to France’s famed Burgundy region, the weather is temperate with a long growing season ideal for developing the full flavour potential of pinot noir grapes. Soter Vineyards is the family’s estate winery, located on Mineral Springs Ranch in the heart of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, a growing area quickly gaining acclaim as a “sweet spot” for pinot noir – never too cold, not prone to frost, and not too high in terms of altitude as to risk delayed maturity.
Adding to the Burgundian feel at Soter are two caves dug next to the refurbished barn/winery. Lined with cement, these naturally cool and temperature-controlled spaces are the barrel rooms, providing the perfect environment to raise world-class wines – in the finest French oak casks from Burgundy, of course.
Townshend Cellar combines the notably expressive qualities of Washington State grapes with the depth and elegance of wines made in the Old World style. Townshend Cellar offers varietals reflective of different regional styles, both Italian and French, as well as limited production specialties and blends.
The winery embraces Washington’s superb growing conditions by bringing in premium grapes from top local vineyards. They have a diverse selection of reds, from big vintage Cabernet Sauvignon to unique and exquisite blends. All exhibit the purity of fruit and great balance the state is known for. When it comes to Townshend’s whites, the collection merges a traditional European style with the well-balanced fruit from Washington’s premier growing areas. The white varietals are made in stainless steel tanks and small oak barrels to create wonderful aromas and crisp flavours.
Walter Scott Wines was started in 2008 by partners Ken Pahlow and Erica Landon after years of living, studying and working within the Oregon wine industry. Ken had dreams of starting his own label, but had not truly achieved his goal until Erica helped him take the leap. In the Spring of that year the two partners emptied their meager retirement accounts and used the funds to design the label and launch their dream. While there was a bit of wine during this time, it was not until the 2009 vintage that the two secured fruit from some great vineyards and Walter Scott Wines was born.
The name “Walter Scott” honors two men who meant the world to Ken. Walter, Ken’s grandfather, was a flight engineer for TWA. His dreams had always become his realities, from building homes to riding motorcycles to flying planes, Walter was dynamic and adventurous, teaching Ken that there are no limits to what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it. Scott was Ken’s nephew, albeit his time short, Scott was fearless, never shying away from anything, much like his great grandfather. His departure taught Ken that life is very short, if you have ambitions, you must act on them, for you never know when your chance will pass.
In 2012, Ken and Erica found a perfect little winery space in the Eola-Amity Hills that they leased from the Casteel family of Bethel Heights Vineyards. Today Walter Scott Wines has grown into the small winery that Ken and Erica had envisioned with the help and support of so many. The wines represent the family, the friends and the dreams that have all helped to make this reality. The pair left their “real” jobs that had helped support the venture, allowing them both to focus all of their energy on the winery!
Walter Scott is available in Calgary exclusively at Metrovino.