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Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden Breaks Ground on Tasting Room, seeks Living Building Challenge™ petal certification

10.13.14 by the Green Hammer Team

Nestled along Southern Oregon’s Applegate River, Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden has something to celebrate apart from the fall crush. This Demeter-certified Biodynamic® farm and winery nestled along Southern Oregon’s Applegate River recently broke ground on two buildings slated to meet some of the world’s most stringent green building standards. Owners Barbara and Bill Steele hired Green Hammer to design-build their new tasting room and residence to align with their high standards of business.

Cowhorn is following the Passive House standard and pursuing Living Building Challenge™ Petal Certification for a new 2,200-square-foot tasting room. Expected to be 70-90% more energy efficient than conventional construction, the tasting room utilizes Forest Stewardship Council®–certified wood, natural daylight and local materials free of harmful chemicals and toxins. Inspired by the Steeles’ personal connection to their wine club members, Green Hammer architect Erica Dunn, AIA, crafted an intimate space for visitors to explore Cowhorn’s award-winning wine. Here, guests will be able to sip wine as they engage with the Steeles, and soak in expansive views of the vineyard. 

The Cowhorn Tasting Room is one of only about 20 projects in Oregon to register with the Living Building Challenge, according to the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), which administers the challenge and is also home to Cascadia Green Building Council and Ecotone Publishing.

“Biodynamic farming is really about working to enhance and support the dynamic nature of the first 12 inches of the Earth’s skin (the soil),” says Barbara Steele. “When you do that, everything else thrives. That’s how I felt when I walked into [buildings] pursuing the Living Building Challenge. They were dynamic, alive spaces. That’s what we are shooting for.”

Additionally, the Steeles broke ground on a new 2,300-square-foot residence designed by award-winning Green Hammer architect, Jan Fillinger. Designed to meet the Passive House standard, the house will provide an inviting, energy-efficient retreat away from the winery for both the Steeles and their guests. “Without great clients, you can’t achieve a great project,” says Jan Fillinger. “Barbara and Bill have provided specific directives while letting us bring creative vision to the project.”

Construction on the Cowhorn Tasting Room and Residence is expected to be completed by Summer 2015. For more information about the project, or to request interviews, please contact


4.2.15 12:04
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