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Gem State can be proud of more than its potatoes

4/20/2011

 - Idaho Statesman

T hanks to the increasing quality of Idaho vintners, Idaho’s wine industry is growing in stature and size.

Just three years ago, Idaho had 32 wineries. That has grown to 43, and inquiries about starting wineries come to the Idaho Wine Commission in Boise on a weekly basis. Most of the wineries are in the Snake River Valley, primarily around Caldwell and Nampa. A few are in the panhandle, and the Palouse region promises to be a growth area.

About 1,600 acres of vineyards are in Idaho, primarily in the Caldwell-Nampa region. The largest vineyard, Skyline, is 450 acres and owned by Precept Wines in Seattle.

Idaho’s oldest and largest winery is Ste. Chapelle in Caldwell, which started in 1976 and is owned by Ascentia Wine Estates in California. Thanks to Ste. Chapelle, Riesling is the state’s largest variety, though Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot also are important. Moya Shatz, executive director of the Idaho Wine Commission, said Rhone varieties such as Syrah and Viognier grow extremely well in the Snake River Valley.

 

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