Destination Arkansas River Valley: Cowie Wine Cellars

Between the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas sits on oasis of down home living, mountain views and the sweet taste of locally produced wine. This is Cowie Wine Cellars: home of perhaps the state’s most experienced winemaker, and certainly its most devoted collector and historian.

Robert Cowie, now 70 years old, has been making wine for 58 years. Over the last half-century he has experienced some radical changes in the local wine industry, which has fluctuated from more than 150 active wineries to the current number of seven. Cowie’s experience, expertise, and enthusiasm for wine has helped Cowie Wine Cellars achieve its level of continued success, and the same can be said about Robert Cowie’s openness to new ideas and tastes; he can still be found experimenting with new varietals and winemaking techniques to this day.

“We just made our first attempt at syrah,” Cowie tells us. “We were asked by a local producer to make a wine from his local, organically grown grapes.” He continues, “We’ll see how that turns out this year.”

Although a supporter of locally grown produce, Cowie also brings in some outside resources when he needs to; he recently made the 2,000 mile drive to pick up some of Wisconsin’s finest cranberries for his Cranberry Wine.

Of course, Robert Cowie is also still producing the classic tastes that first put Cowie Wine Cellars on the map. His Arkansas Queen, made primarily from Cynthiana grapes, has been lableled “…without a doubt the best wine in Arkansas,” by the Founder of the California Wine Institute, while his Robert’s Port has won 24 Gold Medals to date. Other popular tastes include the sweet Trisha’s Passion and dry Anne’s Elegance vintages.

Cowie explains that he and his winery have become “known first for our passion and then for the ability to relate to people,” and both of these attributes are on full display for those who pay a visit to the winery. Complimentary tastings, gorgeous grounds and world-class wines greet each visitor to the winery that was built by the hands of Cowie and his children.

And if you fall in love with the winery as much as your significant other, Cowie Wine Cellars is an ideal location for hosting weddings and other special events. Not only can you have the ceremony in front of the picturesque Barrel Gallery – about 50 oil painted wine barrels artistically designed by Robert’s wife Bette Kay Cowie – but there is also an on-location chapel under construction as well that will be opening soon. The two on-site Bed and Breakfast Suites make for great accommodations.

While exploring the grounds of Cowie Wine Cellars, make sure to stop in and take a look at the Arkansas Historic Wine Museum. This collection of exhibits and equipment from wineries past stands as the finest gathering of wine artifacts in the state. Take a look inside and you’ll get a glimpse into the experiences and influences that have shaped the state’s current wine culture!

Click Here to visit Cowie Wine Cellar’s Official Website!

Want to experience the sound of wedding bells on the winery? Click Here to listen to a recording of Robert Cowie’s bell collection – over 60 bells included!


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