The story of ROWEN Wine Company begins in the early part of the 20th century, when the Cooley family purchased the first piece of the expansive ranch they own today. Back then the land served as the family’s grounds for adventure—they hunted, fished, and ran cattle, getting to know the folds of northwest Sonoma County gradually. They discovered the headwaters of Dry Creek. They saw bald eagles and cougars. They even welcomed a bank robber, who hid out for a time in a remote cave.
As the ranch grew, the Cooleys diversified, planting grapes for the first time in the 1930s. Those grapes didn’t last long. Tending them at widely varying elevation levels proved to be quite a challenge.
Fast-forward to the early part of this millennium, when the Cooley family decided it was time to give grapes another try. This time, instead of going it alone, the Cooleys signed an exclusive long-term lease with Rodney Strong to develop the land for them. Against all odds, the team from Rodney Strong Vineyards did just that—and much, much more.
The new approach started with research. The Rodney Strong Vineyards group studied microclimates and identified more than 6 different zones across the ranch. Next, they charted elevations, noting that viable hillsides ranged from 500 feet to 2,040 feet. Finally, they called in two of the most respected soil scientists in the world to dig 200 test pits and glean where were the best spots to plant vineyard blocks. This process took a total of seven years.
In the end, around 2010-2011, the RSV team settled on 200 top-notch acres atop metamorphic, iron-rich greenstone and volcanic soils and began planting.