Idaho Wine Commission
In The News
After the past two years, Idaho’s wine industry is popping the cork on what it hopes will be a normal summer.
According to statistics from the Idaho Wine Commission, Idaho now has more than 75 wineries, which harvest more than 2,000 tons of grapes every year, producing more than 300,000 gallons of wine annually. Altogether, Idaho’s vineyards and wineries have an estimated annual impact of $210 million.
On a sultry day in early June, the front lawn of the Hells Canyon and Zhoo Zhoo winery feels like a tiny slice of Tuscany transported to Caldwell, Idaho. Soft music plays, sunlight falls gracefully through tree canopies, and the twisting length of the Snake River is visible far beyond the grapevines. It’s deeply serene. But the winery has an open secret: Both the wine and ambiance are made possible by solar power.
On Tuesday, Ada County Commissioners voted to allow Dude DeWalt Cellars on Highway 16 to become an event center on top of their winery approval with a few compromises. This comes after an hours-long, late-night hearing earlier this month where the board heard dueling appeals from both a nearby neighbor hoping for heavy restrictions on the winery and from the owner who wanted the ability to host more and larger events on the property.
When people think of Idaho, their next thought is often potatoes. But once you hit the Snake River Valley, you’ll find more grapes than you will spuds, and this year those grapes are celebrating a 15 year anniversary.
According to the Idaho Wine Commission, Idaho’s first American Viticultural Area opened in 2007. Over the years, it has grown from 15 wineries to more than 40, clearing the way for two more AVAs and producing more than 400,000 gallons of wine a year.
The 13th annual Idaho Wine and Cider Competition was held on May 24, showcasing the best wines Idaho has to offer.
The competition, organized by Great Northwest Wine, featured an elite panel of judges made up of writers, sommeliers, consultants, buyers and industry experts.
A total of 164 Idaho wines were evaluated as well as 13 cider entries.
Ahead of Idaho Wine month in June, a new slew of award-winning wines was crowned Tuesday, May 24 at the 13th Annual Idaho Wine Competition. Six judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped through the 164 entries submitted in hopes of awarding medals to the highest quality wines. And, I was once again fortunate to be among the judging team and able to gain an inside view into some of this year’s best Idaho wines.
BoiseDev – Wine wars: Ada County Commissioners approve one Eagle foothills winery, delay a decision on event center
Another week, another tense hearing in Ada County about wineries in the Eagle foothills.
On Wednesday night, the Ada County Commissioners sat up late into the night listening to testimony from residents and the winery industry about applications from two separate wineries to expand their operations in the area. The first was an application from 3100 Cellars on Artemisa Road for a permit to produce and sell wine on their property and the second application came from Dude DeWalt Cellars along Highway 16 to expand their operations to an event center and social hall along with their winery.
On Wednesday, the Ada County Commissioners appeared likely to deny an appeal to the commission that opposed a family business’s plan to produce wine on their property off Homer Road, north of Eagle.