Our Story

In 2011, while overlooking a vineyard on the beautiful shores of Waiheke Island in New Zealand, Night Watch founders Chip and Val Fowler made the decision to search for a special piece of land that might one day host their own vineyard.  Five years later they found it — a 56-acre ranch along the Columbia River with spectacular views of Mt. Hood in the heart of the Columbia Gorge AVA. This was the special place where they could share the exquisite beauty, ambiance, and bounty of the land with friends, neighbors, and visitors.  In this quest, the Fowlers selected varieties of grapes that would testify to and mirror the ancient soils, gravels, and winds of this distinctive region.

Image of owl with logo

This is a family-owned wine company.  The Night Watch name comes from an old family story of an ancestor, who in the year 1194, when awoken by an owl, went out to inspect his troops standing watch during the Third Crusade.  He discovered a surprise night attack was underway, rallied his men, and a few hours later was knighted on the field of battle by King Richard the Lionheart.  Our family crest to this day includes an owl on top of the shield as does each bottle of Night Watch wine.  We also decided to name the Foxley Estate after the ancestral home of the Fowler family in Buckinghamshire, England.  The Night Watch name also reminds us that brave men and women in our uniformed military and diplomatic corps continue to stand “the watch,” serving our country around the world.

The Place

The Night Watch wine company is situated near the middle of the Columbia Gorge AVA, anchored by the 56-acre Foxley Estate.  Almost 16 acres of wine grapes are sustainably farmed here, producing wines of quality and elegance.   The vineyard sits on the heights above the Columbia Gorge with breathtaking views of the spectacular canyon where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains.  Our land is located in the heart of the Nation’s second National Scenic Area and we are surrounded by ancient volcanic mountains, stunning cliffs, soaring spires, and ridges. As custodians of this beautiful place, we are committed to environmental stewardship and conservation of the land.  We, like the generations of Native Americans who hunted and fished here for many centuries, stand in awe of this mighty river and the majestic mountain that greets us in the morning light.  We will preserve, protect, and enhance this national treasure.

View Overlooking the Vineyard

Our Mission

Following our retirements from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Foreign Service, we took on a new mission: turning a cattle ranch into a thriving organic vineyard. As custodians of this beautiful land, our core values and ideals are conveyed through respectful farming and wine craftsmanship that creates fine wines born from vines planted on ancient soils and deep gravels.  We seek to nurture the land to preserve its health for the pleasure of this generation and for those to come and we will create delicious wines that reflect the unique land and maritime environment of the Columbia Gorge.  We are also deeply committed to supporting military veterans as they transition to civilian life by contributing a percentage of our wine sales to two foundations directly assisting veterans.

Chip and Val Fowler

Our Vineyard

The Foxley Estate Vineyard was created from a pasture with spectacular views of the Columbia River and iconic Mt. Hood.  Other physical properties associated with the site include the southerly facing aspect of the land to maximize sunlight on the grape clusters and canopy leaves, a modest slope to ensure good drainage, and prevailing westerly winds that provide robust air flow through the grapevines minimizing disease pressures.  The soil is perfect for wine grapes:  dark, rich organic Balake soils with gravelly, silt loam textures that lie above deep layers of sand and gravel deposited from ancient glacial megafloods.  These floods originated in Lake Missoula in western Montana and raced through the Columbia Gorge 12,000 to 18,000 years ago, depositing huge amounts of layered course gravel, boulders, and sand that were later covered by silt-sized dust carried by strong prevailing westerly winds.

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