Why name the winery Cougar?

This month I am taking a hiatus from my articles on the Italian grape varietals that we are growing and/or producing wine from.  Next month I will be back on the grape subject.  I am writing this article because of the misconception about the name of our winery by a few around the Temecula Wine Country.  It is possible that this misconception could be held elsewhere so I felt the need to document the naming of our winery for all to read.

Seventeen years ago Rick and I started making wine from a kit in our home in Fort Worth Texas.  We enjoyed drinking wine so we decided to try our hand at making some.  The first attempt at winemaking was a Merlot that we both thought was good enough to drink and share with our friends.  After a few successful batches of wine and a move to Bellevue Washington we started to enter our wines in home winemaking competitions and fairs.  We were purchasing our grapes from Yakama and the Gorge area in Eastern Washington and the quality of our wines increased ten fold.  We also purchased our own basket press and electric crusher/destemmer plus a few tanks and small barrels.  After digging out under our home to create a 400 square foot room for winemaking, our little hobby was getting a little bit more serious.  At the time we also owned polled Herefords.  So years before Demi Moore started dating Ashton Kutcher, the Cougar Winery brand and Cougar Mountain Cattle brand came about.   We even had a short lived (still slightly breathing) company Cougar Software Solutions.

So you are still wondering why the name Cougar?  The home we owned in Bellevue resided at the top of Cougar Mountain.  Although we never saw a cougar there was plenty of wildlife including bears, deer, coyotes, and raccoons.  I do not recall seeing older women dating younger men in the forest that our home backed up to.

When we purchased the property in Temecula Wine Country I remember being asked if we would change the name to “Buffington Estate Winery”.  Even though the whole “Cougar” trend had kicked into gear I didn’t hesitate to say “No”.  We had our label, our brand, our website, and trends go away.  Well, they are supposed to anyway.

Yes, we have heard all of the jokes.  If you think you are a Cougar that is great.  We like all kinds of people and have met many characters that make the world an interesting place.  The name sometimes gets guests in the door and then it is our mission to win them over with our wine.  We also respect the name Cougar since it is the mascot of many of our wine club members alumni such as Washington State, University of Houston, and UC San Marcos to name a few.

So if you are looking for a gift shop full of Cougar items, this is the wrong winery for you.  Besides the bling shirts we pretty much just sell wine.  If you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary let us know and we will cork and lei you (the cork is a keychain and our corks are really cute).  If you are in front of our sign taking your picture, please drive up and come on in.  You are out wine tasting so you should try our wines too.

In Temecula Valley, Cougar Vineyard & Winery is located at 39870 De Portola Road.  This winery resides on the De Portola Wine Trail of Temecula Wine Country.  Cougar Vineyard & Winery is a member of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association and the Meritage Society.

Cougar Vineyard & Winery is planted entirely in Italian varietals.  We will be discussing all of these other varietals being grown by Cougar in upcoming articles about the Italian grape varietals planted in Temecula Wine Country of Southern California.