Have you taken a horseback riding vacation in wine country? I’ve written about horseback riding in Chile’s Colchagua Valley and a horseback riding holiday in Healdsburg in California’s Sonoma County. Not everyone has the time or money to go horseback riding through the vineyards. I’ve thought of a better way to bring horses and wine country to you for a fraction of the cost. Heck, you don’t even have to leave your house if you don’t want to. Here’s a list of horse wine labels for your enjoyment and sipping pleasure.
I can’t say that I have tasted all of these horse-themed wine labels, but the artwork will appeal to any horse lover.
14 Hands Winery
The first horse I owned measured 14.2 hands tall. In the United States, my understanding is that anything under 14.2 hands is considered a pony. But let’s not get caught up in horse speak technicalities. I love the 14 Hands Winery label “Wild Horses” featured above. The International Equine Artist Cynthia Sampson created this artwork, inspired by a visit to wild mustang territory.
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates purchased the rights to this vibrant artwork to grace its 14 Hands wine label. The 14 Hands wine label pays homage to the wild mustangs that once grazed the hills of eastern Washington State. These wild ponies, measuring 14 hands high, were strong and tenacious and admired for their endurance and lively spirit. The 14 Hands wines are said to embody the spirit of these wild horses.
Black Stallion Winery
Formerly home to Silverado Horseman’s Equestrian Center in Napa, California, Black Stallion Winery also offers their high-end proprietary red wine, Bucephalus named after Alexander the Great’s Black Stallion.
Similar to Black Stallion winery, Bridlewood Winery was once home to an Arabian horse farm and equestrian center. The winery has redesigned its label, dropping the prancing horses in favor of a capital “B” for Bridlewood. Personally, I think the California Central Coast winery should stick with their horse heritage, but what do I know?
Clos Pegase Napa Valley
Clos Pegase in Calistoga, California has a deep rooted connection to wine, the winged-horse and art. The painting of Pegasus depicted by 19th-Century French artist Odilon Redon is owner Jan Shrem’s favorite painting from his collection and serves as the symbol of Clos Pegase Winery.
Equus Run Vineyards
Equus Run Vineyards is situated in Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region. Kentucky is known for rolling green pastures, historic stone fences, Thoroughbred horse farms and the Kentucky Derby horse race.
Flying Horse Winery
Another Napa Valley winery, Flying Horse Winery is based in Oakville, California. The family-owned winery still has a connection with horses. The Smeding family immigrated to California from Middelburg, Netherlands and has kept their love of horses in the family. They all ride Arabians and Quarter Horses and have competed in endurance rides.
Iron Horse Estates
Located in Sonoma Valley, California, Iron Horse Estates is a family-owned winery. The name Iron Horse came from the name of the train that stopped at Ross Station. The logo and wine label art were inspired by a weathervane found on the property during excavation for the winery. On a side note, former vineyard and winemaking director Forrest Tancer is an avid equestrian and promoter of endurance rides in Mendocino County.
Jamieson Ranch Vineyards Light Horse Wine
Jamieson Ranch Vineyards is another California winery with a horse tie-in. The ranch launched the Light Horse Foundation to assist autistic and at risk children through the use of therapy horses. It’s an added bonus that Jamieson Ranch produces tasty Light Horse wines at reasonable prices.
Horse & Plow
Are you noticing a pattern within this horse wine label blog post? It appears that the majority of wines with a horse label are produced in California. As I am a third generation California girl, I’m okay with the California bias. Horse & Plow Winery is located in Sebastabol, California. Once known for apple orchards, many farmers and grape growers in Sebastabol adhere to organic farming practices. This is no exception for Horse & Plow Winery owners Chris & Suzanne. The owners refer to their Horse & Plow wines as the “work horse” – honest, well structured wines at a reasonable price.
Wild Horse Winery
Named after the herds of mustang horses that once roamed the hills above the vineyards, Wild Horse Winery was the impetus of a senior project at Cal Poly. Not surprisingly, the Cal Poly State University mascot is a galloping horse!
This Central Coast winery makes a great Pinot Noir, and like the horse that graces the wine label, the people behind this brand have an unbridled passion for life that you can’t rein in – pun intended.
Wine Country Farm
Three cheers for Oregon wines. I love Pinot Noir, and not many wineries are able to charm the magic out of this finicky grape varietal like Oregon wine growers. And what’s not to like about a winery that serves as a Bed & Breakfast, tasting room and offers horse drawn buggy rides? Wine Country Farm definitely looks like a place I need to visiting for a horseback riding vacation in the vineyards!
Do you have any horse wine labels to add to this list? Leave your comments below and remember, no wine drinking while riding!
Wild Horses wine label artwork courtesy International Equine Artist Cynthia Sampson.
Article by Nancy D. Brown.