It may seem like an unlikely match, but in fact, horses and vineyards make as rich and satisfying a pairing as champagne and caviar.
Equestrians and wine enthusiasts often overlap, not only because of the vast amount of green pastures both ventures require, but also because a passion for horses and a passion for wine tend to require similar qualities in a person. Equestrians and vintners devote a great deal of their time, their energy, and their income to cultivating and tending to horses or grapes. Dealing with living things is different from investing in other types of hobbies or ventures; caring for horses, and caring for grapes both require an equestrian or vintner to be constantly present and attentive to the health, needs, and tendencies of their beloved collections of living assets.
Whether you already own horses, are thinking about investing in a horse, or even if you’re just a wine fiend whose looking to learn more about the equestrian way of life, a visit to a vineyard that also raises horses can offer a unique experience and a great deal of insight into what goes into horse-rearing. Vintners and equestrians are combining forces all over the country, so no matter where you live, you’re sure to be able to find something to quench your thirst for both passions.
In the South:
When longtime polo player, David King, and his wife, Ellen went looking to buy land in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, they had no intention of making or selling wine. In fact, David’s main criteria was that there be enough flat land for him to be able to put in a polo field. Fast forward ten years, and the King Family Vineyard is now a thriving winery, which hosts polo matches every week of the season beginning on Memorial Day. Spending a weekend at King’s Family Vineyard allows one to indulge in wine made almost completely of grapes from the surrounding vineyard in their tasting room, as well as polo matches on the outdoor pitch simultaneously. If you prefer one hobby to the other, you might be surprised about how much you can expand your knowledge, and may even go home with an itch to attend polo matches throughout the state, or to sample a wider array of wines.
On the East Coast:
Roger Entenmann purchased a potato farm in Riverhead, New York in 1978, planning to use it to raise thoroughbred horses. After almost twenty years of raising horses, Roger decided to try raising grapes as well, and devoted 18 acres of his property to a vineyard. Since then, Martha Clara Vineyards, named for his mother, Martha, has grown to over 100 acres, and offers a wide variety of wines. His vineyard can offer an interesting look into how a passion for and expertise in raising horses can lend itself to adapting land into a winery. 
On the West Coast:
Across the country in the legendary Napa Valley, Barry Waitte has successfully escaped big city life by owning and operating Tamber Bey Vineyards. Waitte named his winery after his prized Arabian horses, and the vineyard includes a fully functional ranch, an equestrian training facility, and a 16-stall barn. Tamber Bey allows visitors to bask in the presence of prize winning horses, while sipping on Napa Valley’s famous vintages, and offers a chance for horse and wine lovers alike to learn more about their passions.
A few hours south of Napa, in the horse-rich area Temecula Valley, you’ll find the Broderson raising and rescuing Belgian Draft horses, and family Longshadow Ranch of rescues and raises draft horses on their hillside vineyard. Draft horses, or work horses, are bred to do farming tasks such a plowing or pulling heavy loads. At Longshadow, you’ll find the large horses working the vineyard land, posing for photos and accepting carrots from visitors, and pulling carriages throughout the grounds for vineyard tours. Visiting the Longshadow Ranch offers a look at the process of raising work horses, as well as another kind of intersection between vineyards and horse farms.
Whether for an event, a lifestyle, or a way of making a living, horse farms and vineyards regularly intersect in a variety of ways. One significant commonality between horses and wine is that they are both extremely valuable financial assets that are often overlooked in financial planning. As you are enjoying a new grape or patting a soft equine nose, reflect on the investments you have made in your passions, and the steps you have taken to ensure their future. Then get back to enjoying your wine and carriage ride!
Brielle Cotterman and Paige Stover Hague are the principals of Crowninshield Consulting. Their firm partners with professional advisors throughout the country assisting with succession planning and transfer of passion investments. They also work with individual collectors who seek to inventory, evaluate, and/or transfer highly-valued items of personal property with specific wealth transfer and philanthropic objectives. For more information about their company, please contact Brielle at 765-776-0492 or Brielle@CrowninshieldConsulting.com.