Walking into Emerson Vineyards on a cool May afternoon, we didn’t know what to expect. The long rows of green grape vines didn’t really strike us as unusual. If anything the Monmouth estate looked ready for the summer wine season.
But this wasn’t your typical wine tasting. We were here for Goat Yoga wine tasting. And that’s pretty darn unique.
Since its inception in 2016, Goat Yoga — the first of its kind — has received a lot of attention.
It’s been featured in the Washington Post, Sunset Magazine, CNN and plenty of foreign media outlets. On this particular day we were joined by cameraman and host from RTL, a German TV network.
As we approached a white tent in the middle of the vineyard, we spotted a dozen or so little goats sitting in the dewy grass. We stepped closer and their soft bleats grew louder. I swear they were smiling back at us.
You might wonder, “where did the idea for Goat Yoga even come from?” It all started when No Regrets Farm owner Lainey Morse auctioned off a kids birthday party for charity. One of the attendees happened to be yoga instructor Heather Davis, who asked if she could host a class on the property. Morse laughed, saying yes but the farm goats would be all over the humans, and as a photographer she had to take some shots.
Soon enough Modern Farmer published the photos and the duo began marketing Goat Yoga. It quickly took off. When the class size began to exceed farm capacity, Morse partnered with fellow Visit Corvallis board member Tom Johns, owner of Emerson Vineyards, who built a special fenced area for the experience.
Classes (without wine) are also offered at The Hanson Country Inn in Corvallis, with discounted student events during the school year. There are even plans for Goat Yoga retreats, holiday-themed classes and non-yoga goat gatherings.
But we were there for the quintessential Goat Yoga experience. Davis teaches a very basic level of Vinyasa, accessible for all skill levels. One attendee admitted he had never tried yoga before, whereas my friends are regulars at a local studio. We warmed up with the traditional Sun Salutation sequence — some more gracefully than others — and quickly discovered that Chaturanga Dandasana led to an extra special surprise.
Apparently goats like to climb onto high places. And they’re surprisingly social. So when you’re in plank position with a flat back, you’re providing an irresistible platform for these little kids. In no time we had goats jumping onto our backs, sometimes leaping from one person’s back to another like leap frog.
The tent echoed with giggles. Goats were flying, bleating and looking ridiculously cute. Some yogis gave up completely, letting kids take up residence on their backs or in their arms. Others, myself included, squealed as the goats chewed mouthfuls of hair, likely mistaking it for hay. (Memo to self: use more conditioner.)
By the time we reached Shavasana, everyone was relaxed and zen-like. A few of us cuddled with goats during the final “namaste,” breaths synchronized.
Goats love yoga.
Pairs well with goat.
Tilly was our favorite.
After each class there is a goat happy hour. That’s when Emerson’s award-winning wine is served and guests can snuggle goats, take selfies and admire the stunning Willamette Valley views. Everyone seems calm and happy, including the goats.
Morse says wine tasting is the perfect complement to Goat Yoga, “It’s a one of a kind experience that everyone will remember for the rest of their lives.”
If you’ve never had a white pinot noir before, the Emerson Vineyards’ 2015 batch is a great place to start. Light and refreshing with soft fruit tones, the wine pairs well with Goat Yoga. Of course this didn’t stop me from also sipping their classic Willamette Valley pinot noir and pinot gris, both great wines.
Despite its popularity, Goat Yoga classes have availability. Visit GoatYoga.net to reserve your spot — just don’t wait to the last minute or you might miss out. And you don’t want to miss out.
“Goat Yoga is a happy distraction for everyone,” Morse says. “It’s hard not to smile even when you say the name.”