Idaho is best known for its picturesque wilderness, and maybe even more famously, its potatoes. But, Idaho has a little secret, and it is time to tell the world: Idaho is home to a wine industry that produces some fantastic wines. And, within the last decade, the industry has grown rapidly.
Idaho has a small but growing wine region with the natural resources to sustain world-class vineyards and wineries. Our warm climate, rich volcanic sediment and well drained soils, and direct access to water sources provides Idaho the key ingredients for fruit forward wines with good structure. In fact, Idaho is considered, by some, part of the new frontier of grape-growing areas in the United States.
As of 2015, Idaho is home to 51 wineries with around 1300 vineyard acres planted. These wineries produce dozens of wine varieties that are as extraordinary as the land on which they were made. In 2013 the wine industry contributed $169 million to Idaho’s economy.
Idaho’s Wine History and The Ste. Chapelle Winery
In the 1860’s the first wineries in the Pacific Northwest were located in Idaho. In fact, Idaho had a nationally renowned wine industry until Prohibition closed the industry down. State Prohibition in Idaho began in 1916, followed by National Prohibition in 1920. Prohibition wasn’t repealed until 1933. However, it was several decades after the end of Prohibition that Idaho saw its first new winery.
In 1975, the Ste. Chapelle Winery became Idaho’s first winery since the end of Prohibition. Today Ste. Chapelle Winery is the largest winery in Idaho with a total production capability of 150,000 cases.
Founded in 1975 in Emmett, Idaho, Ste. Chapelle is well known for producing outstanding wines from the Snake River Valley appellation. It moved to its present facility in Caldwell (19348 Lowell Rd.) in 1978 and grew quickly, producing Riesling and Chardonnay as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Its popular “Soft” series continues to expand with offerings of Soft Red, Soft White, Soft Rose and Soft Huckleberry.
Over the last 30 years the Idaho wine industry has been growing, with a big boom occurring in the past decade. In 2002 we had eleven wineries, today we are home to more than fifty.
Idaho’s Leading Wine Varieties:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Idaho’s Southwest Urban Wine District:
According to the Idaho Wine Commission, there are three wine regions, each consisting of different districts. We are sharing with you the wineries and vineyards that are within the Southwest wine regions urban wine district. For wineries and vineyards in other regions and districts please visit their page.
Location: 107 East 44th Street, Garden City
Cinder Wines is located just five minutes from downtown Boise. Taste what some consider some of the most beautiful Syrah, Tempranillo and Viognier in the Pacific Northwest. Cinder wines source their grapes from several vineyards in the Snake River Valley, constantly searching out new climates, sites and passionate people who are investing in new vineyards for this beautiful region. Current vineyards they use are: Williamson Vineyards, Sawtooth Vineyard, Skyline Vineyard, Rocky Fence Vineyard, Arena Valley Vineyard, and Symms Vineyard.
Location: 240 E. 32nd Street, Garden City
Coiled Wines is a small-production wine label dedicated to crafting elegant wines from Snake River Valley grapes, with an emphasis on Syrah wines.
Location: 1414 W. Grove Street, Boise
Mouvance is a family-owned winery producing limited quantities of Pinot Noir and white wines with fruit from their vineyard and other Oregon vineyards.
Location: 505 E 43rd Street, Garden City
Potter Wines specializes in bold wines for the adventurous and is most noted for its famous jalapeno cooking and sipping wine and seasonal pumpkin wine. Other wines include: Syrah, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Mourvedre, and various white wines. They do not yet have a tasting room but you can find them April – December at The Boise Farmer’s Market and Capital City Public Market. You can also order online at www.potterwines.com or www.jalapenowine.com.
Location: 786 W. Broad Street, Boise
Inspired by passion for traditional wine making and viticulture, Snake River Winery emphasizes quality over quantity with its Arena Valley Vineyard that consists of 75 acres. The Snake River Winery tasting room is located in the heart of Downtown Boise and carries a variety of stemware, wine accessories and gifts.
Location: 4338 Chinden Blvd, Garden City
Split Rail winery was propagated from the minds of a new generation of drinker. Its wines are spawned from whimsy, driven by the soil, and conceptualized from the mindset that we all like what we like, not what we’re told to like. Stop by the tasting room to find what you like. They use grapes from: Williamson Vineyards, Skyline Vineyard, and Sawtooth Vineyard.
Location: 4338 Chinden Blvd. Garden City
Syringa Winery is one of Idaho’s most revered wineries. Established in 2007, it continues a limited production of award winning wines widely regarded as consistently high quality at prices below many of their peers. Syringa Winery specializes in making wines from grapes grown in the Snake River Valley. The wines are crafted using traditional wine making techniques, i.e., frequent visits to the vineyards to hand-sample and taste the fruit before harvest; fruit sorting and picking by hand; manually punching down in open-top fermenters; gentle squeezing in a bladder and basket press; individual topping off of barrels monthly and racking each barrel four times a year. The wines are unfiltered, unfined and cellared in separate vineyard lots in American, French, and Hungarian oak barrels. The “free run” and “pressed wines” are placed in separate barrels for aging, and then later blended by discerning palates.
Location: 240 E. 32nd. Street, Garden City
Telaya is a family run wine company focused on producing handcrafted wines in the affordable premium category. The winemakers strive to provide an exceptional wine to be experienced as you search for your own place of joy and contentment. Telaya is producing award winning wines from both the Columbia Valley and the Snake River Valley. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy the views from the patio on the river.
Location: North Bene Posto Place, Boise
Terra Nativa Vineyards are located in the Snake River Valley Viticulture Region of Idaho. The soils and micro-climates of this region are conducive to the production of rich well-balanced wines. The family run business is committed to sustainable vineyard management practices. They’ve selected five varietals of red grapes from which to produce their wines. They are; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Sirah.
Location: 6900 Pearl Road, Eagle
Located high in the foothills above Eagle, 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards produces award-winning wines year after year. The vineyard practices sustainable farming, including natural management of weeds, insects and birds, ensuring its estate grown wines are made with 100% naturally grown grapes.
As realtors, we love our community, and supporting it in any way we can. One way we can do this is to try and shop local. So, the next time you are in the market for a bottle of wine, why not try one made close to home? We know we will.