Wineries & Vineyards
Idaho Wine Country is divided into three distinct regions: Southwest, Southeast and North. Each region features their own unique geography and, as a result, winemaking focus.
The Snake River Valley AVA has good company with the great growing regions of the world in terms of latitude, elevation and growing season. Climate conditions are very similar to AVAs in the Columbia Valley in Washington State. Elevations (1,500-3,000 ft) and latitudes (43rd parallel) are comparable to those in the high mountain deserts of the famed Rioja region in Spain.
The landscape from the west side to the east side of Idaho's Snake River AVA changes quite noticeably. The eastern region's rough rocky terrain is a reminder of a once tumultous volcanic period. Canyons and an abundance of lava rock give the terrain a more striking appearance, from the rolling sandy hills of the western AVA region. Appearance is not what is important when it comes to choosing an area to plant vines, soil composition, however, is crucial. Lava rock produces Basalt soil, rich in Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium, all minerals vital to the health of the vine. Winemakers in this region know and take full advantage of this fertile, volcanic soil.
Idaho's wine industry was born in our Northern Region. As early as the late 19th century, vineyards covered the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. For decades, the vines produced award-winning, internationally-recognized wines. Then came Prohibition, halting the growing success of the region's industry.
In the past few decades, several vineyards have been established in the region with hopes of reviving a once thriving industry. Wineries from the North-Central region are once again turning out award-winning wines from premium grapes grown in the valley.
Approved in April 2007, the Snake River Valley was Idaho's first designated American Viticultural Area (AVA). The AVA is
located in Southwestern Idaho and features the largest density of vineyards and wineries in the state. The area encompasses
more than 8,000 square miles at latitudes comparable to many famous wine regions around the world (43°- 46°). Formed more
than four million years ago, the Snake River Valley overlays the ancient Lake Idaho bed, which creates its natural boundaries.
The result is a distinctive grape growing region whose ancient volcanic sediment have bestowed fertile, well-draining soils that
give growers better control throughout the grape-growing process. More importantly, this soil contributes to a unique terroir that—
in the hands of talented winemakers—consistently delivers premium wines that are as memorable as they are delicious.
One of the unique features of Idaho wine country is its ability to produce a wide range of varieties of the utmost quality. Popular varieties include classics like Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay as well as less known varieties such as Viognier.