Buddies with Birds

Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) and ConsciousWine, an online wine shop featuring environmentally friendly labels, have developed a new set of sustainability standards strictly for the birds.

Wineries throughout the Rogue Valley wine region were recently evaluated on a range of bird-friendly practices, from building the right-sized bird boxes to promoting overall biodiversity, at KBO’s 2011 Best of the Bioregion Wine Competition during the Wings & Wine Gala.

This year’s top prize, Best for the Birds Award, went to Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden, the Applegate Valley estate owned and farmed by Biodynamic duo Bill and Barbara Steele.

The winery’s many winning practices include scarecrows that have given way to predator perches, allowing river access for raptors that in turn naturally guard the vineyard from other grape-hungry birds.

John Alexander, executive director of the Klamath Bird Observatory, praised each of the vineyards participating in the competition.

“They choose to use conscious farming practices because it is the right thing to do, and our hope is to bring greater consumer attention to their ‘bird-friendly’ viticulture practices,” Alexander said.

The competition was produced in association with Cheryl Garvey, wine buyer for Ashland’s locally owned independent food and wine store Shop ‘N’ Kart.

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