Bow & Arrow is my interpretation of the Willamette Valley’s humble terroir. The most important parts of that equation are the Willamette Valley and “humble.” Our growing region is frequently approached as a grand terroir destined to produce prestigious wines with an implicit Burgundian influence. I’m honored to make wine here. Still, the valley I know and love is as much a blue-collar agricultural area as it is a boutique wine destination. It’s as much a collection of relatively simple, clay dominated soils as it is home to multi-generation family estates and renowned AVA’s. Bow & Arrow uses a different template to explore this different, simpler side of the Willamette Valley. Instead of Burgundy, we pay homage to the refreshing and decidedly working class wines of France’s Loire Valley.
I’m certainly not the first person to have this notion. Loire Valley grape varieties like Melon, Chenin Blanc, and Gamay were planted in the Willamette Valley decades before I moved here from New York in 2001. As a newly immigrated grocery store wine buyer in Portland, I was always excited when local winemakers shared their interpretations of these less typical grapes. I fantasized about creating my own winery devoted exclusively to such wines. Even after one of Oregon’s great contemporary Pinot Noir and Chardonnay masters, John Paul of Cameron Winery, drafted me as his unproven assistant winemaker in 2007, the thought of bottling Loire Valley varieties was never far away.
So, in 2010 we — my amazing wife Dana, a tireless army of local supporters, and me — actually made it happen. We bootstrapped it for the first few years but today, Bow & Arrow is a full fledged, subterranean winery located in Northeast Portland. We source our fruit from a small group of reliably outstanding farmers who were willing to take a risk grafting or planting the varieties we needed and to farm them in a way that was aligned with our beliefs. While there is no one “house style”, we embrace a principal of drinkability and low-intervention; a humble word that embodies the spirit of wine drinking we celebrate.
Air Guitar is a self deprecating poke at attempting French style wines in America. The “least likely to exist” of all of our Willamette Valley sourced wines, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Borgo Pass Vineyard and Cabernet Franc from Johan Vineyard. Don’t let the playful nature of the wine’s label fool you -this is our most profound expression of red wine from this region and the one that rewards the most patience. Aged 10 to 12 months in puncheon.
-From the producer