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Cowhorn Winery launches The RINSE Project

Boutique biodynamic wine estate, Cowhorn in southern Oregon, is partnering Wine Bottle Renew to pioneer The RINSE Project in the Applegate Valley region, a bioregional program that closes the loop on wine bottle waste. Of the 300m cases of wine sold each year in the US, 70% of the bottles end up in landfill. The project enables the winery to cut its carbon footprint and per bottle cost.

Inspired by Barbara Steele, the program is the first of its kind with the possibility of scaling up and will complement the winery’s relationship with The Green Glass Company to upcycle bottles into heirloom glassware. In partnership with The Ashland Food Co-op, Cowhorn also maintains a Co-op cork-drop that sends used natural corks to Western Pulp for conversion into reusable, compostable wine packs guaranteed to contain a minimum of 99% recycled content. 

The RINSE Project is made possible by transportation partner Agri-Plas, a Brooks, Oregon company that recycles agricultural plastics. Agri-Plas will deliver bottles between Cowhorn’s Applegate estate and Wine Bottle Renew’s washing operation in Stockton, California. Additional Rogue Valley wineries are expected to join in and give wine lovers more locations to return used bottles for renewal.

“Biodynamic winemaking is about the purity of both our wine and the way we produce it.” says Barabara Steele, co-owner of Cowhorn Wines and organizer of The RINSE Project. “Winemaking at Cowhorn is a balance of high-tech and high-touch. Wine Bottle Renew uses leading-edge technology to extend the life of wine bottles by a factor or two or more times. Getting bottles back that are cleaner and greener than new glass is an added value for Cowhorn customers who support sustainable businesses in spades and increasingly won’t settle for less.”

“We look forward to partnering with Cowhorn and Agri-Plas in helping solve the environmental problems associated with discarded wine bottles,” said Bruce Stephens, CEO of Wine Bottle Renew. “Our process will create clean, cost effective and environmentally sustainable wine packaging to wineries everywhere. We welcome all participation.”


1 November 2010 - Felicity Murray