Mini Banks ##Photo provided

Buy the Horns

Young investor acquires Cowhorn

By OWP Staff

Applegate Valley’s Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden has announced a new owner. Founders Barbara and Bill Steele have sold their 117-acre certified Biodynamic polyculture farm to an investor group led by Katherine “Mini” Banks, who will become the winery’s general manager.

Near the California border, alongside the Upper Applegate River, Cowhorn comprises approximately 25 acres under vine and additional acreage dedicated to the cultivation of lavender, asparagus and hazelnut trees (inoculated with Périgord black truffles). At the center of the property stands the world’s first Living Building Certified tasting room, boasting net-positive energy efficiency, net-positive water and carcinogen-free, locally sourced materials.

“When Barbara and I first purchased the property almost 20 years ago, we wanted to build something unique,” Bill Steele explained. “When we learned about Biodynamic farming, we knew we had to bring it to Southern Oregon — and people instantly loved it. Consumers want to know that what they eat and drink is good for the earth and good for them. I know Mini will do a phenomenal job following in the footsteps of our Biodynamic vision and standards of excellence.”

Banks grew up in both wine and hospitality industries, accepting her first winery apprenticeship at the age of 18 in South Africa. Outside of wine, her marketing and communications résumé includes positions at The Council of Fashion Designers of America, V Magazine, Ulla Johnson, Rag & Bone and Goop, a wellness and lifestyle brand founded by actress Gwyneth Paltrow. During her time at Goop, Banks started envisioning a path leading her back to the wine world. Her most recent position was marketing director of True Story Brands, a South African-inspired hospitality group.

“Cowhorn is a gem,” Banks said. “Barbara and Bill Steele have poured their love and passion for holistic and Biodynamic farming into this property for years, and I’m humbled and excited to carry on that legacy. People today care about the quality, sentiment and sustainability of the products we eat, drink or consume more than ever before. This property and these wines completely and truly embody that. While the underlying theme will always be about sustainability and our commitment to our product and our team, this brand is going to be about living and having fun.”

Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden is open by appointment, Tuesday–Saturday. Find more information at

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable