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Idaho Wine Commission

Idaho Wine FAQs

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Got Questions about Idaho Wine?

You’ve come to the right place. See some answers to common questions about Idaho wine, Idaho vineyards, Idaho wineries…you get the picture. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.

Why is Idaho a great wine region?

Producing incredible wine is our birthright, geographically speaking. With an ideal climate and near-famous latitude for growing grapes, it’s no wonder that Idaho is already home to 65 wineries and eight cideries. The warm days, cool nights, and affordable land have drawn passionate and talented winemakers from all over to plant roots here and create some of the most delicious and unique wine you’ll ever taste. In Idaho wine country, you’ll find three AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), or official growing designations with distinctive qualities, spread across six wine growing regions—all with their own unique features and characteristics. 

The land, the space, and the communal vibe give us permission to do things a little differently here. We take wine seriously, but not ourselves. We’re always happy to share a glass with whoever shows up, just as they are. 

How many wineries and cideries are in Idaho?

Idaho is home to 65 wineries and eight cideries—and growing. The welcoming culture and wide, open land mean there’s plenty of room and opportunity here for everyone. 

How many vineyards are in Idaho?

There are more than 1,300 acres of planted vineyards in Idaho, with room to grow. Making great wine comes naturally here. Literally. Mother Nature herself gifted Idaho with things like a diurnal shift (a.k.a. warm days and cool nights) and rich, diverse soils, which produce wildly flavorful grapes. Add in a passionate community of wine-loving experts, and you get something truly spectacular. 

How old is the Idaho wine industry?

We’ve been here for a long time having a good time making some of the best wine in the world. The first vineyards were planted in Idaho in the 1860s, and we’ve been pruning and perfecting our craft ever since. 

What grape varieties are grown in Idaho?

Idaho grows a bunch of different grape varieties (pun absolutely intended). You’ll find the popular, classic varieties as well as tough ones that can handle the cooler temps here. Some of the grapes that love to grow in Idaho are:

  • Chardonnay: A constant classic. Chardonnay can be light and crisp or rich and buttery, depending on how it’s made.
  • Riesling: It’s super popular here and loves the cooler climate. Riesling grapes make crisp white wines with a nice balance of flavors and zingy acidity.
  • Gewürztraminer: Wild name, wildly delicious flavor. This grape is grown in a few places in Idaho and is known for being super aromatic with flowery and spicy flavors.
  • Pinot Gris/Grigio: It’s like your favorite pair of jeans. Pinot Gris can be light and crisp or more full-bodied and textured—flexible, versatile, dress it up or down.
  • Syrah: This grape loves the warm spots in Idaho. It makes wines with rich, fruity flavors, a sprinkle of spice, and a nice structure.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Everyone knows this big red. It too likes the warmer parts of Idaho and produces wines with deep colors, bold fruitiness, and strong tannins.
  • Merlot: Anything but basic, Merlot grapes get ripe and juicy and make wines with smooth textures and soft tannins. 
  • Pinot Noir: These grapes can be a little trickier to grow, but it’s totally worth it. In the cooler pockets of Idaho, they make elegant red wines with hints of red fruit and earthiness.
  • Viognier: Full-bodied, lush, and with a soft character. It might sound like we’re talking about our ideal date, but we’re really talking about this crisp white varietal with natural aromatic notes of pears, peaches, and a hint of violet. 
  • Tempranillo: Grown around the globe, this full-bodied red is native to Spain. Its flavor profile is relatively mild and is often blended with other varieties (Rioja, anyone?). 
  • Malbec: Fun fact: In order to produce the acidity needed for wine that tastes good, Malbec needs to be planted at higher altitudes. Bonus points if the climate has a significant diurnal shift (i.e., warm days, cool nights). Idaho happens to have both, and Malbec is very happy here.

What are the most popular wine varieties produced in Idaho?

Trends evolve, but Idaho definitely has a few classics that we’re known for producing. The most popular wines here include Riesling, Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux-style blends, and ice wine—a sweet, nectar-like wine made from frozen grapes.

How many AVAs does Idaho have?

Idaho has three AVAs, or American Viticultural Areas: The Snake River Valley, Eagle Foothills, and Lewis-Clark Valley. An AVA is a federally designated wine grape-growing region in the United States. AVAs allow winemakers and consumers to associate specific geographic regions with certain characteristics, including climate, soil composition, and other factors that influence grape growing and wine production.

How can I support the Idaho wine industry?

Supporting the Idaho wine industry is as easy as taking a sip. Every glass you drink and every bottle you buy directly supports the winemakers and growers here who have made it their mission to bring the deliciousness of Idaho wines to the world. If you already know and love Idaho wine, take the next step and pay us a visit. We’d love to show off our picturesque scenery and share the literal fruits of our labor with you in person. 

What is the role of the Idaho Wine Commission?

Simply put, our job is to promote and support the wine and cider industry in the state of Idaho. It’s a fun job, and an important one too. Our responsibilities include marketing support, industry advocacy, education and research, as well as enhancing the tourism experience here. As Idaho continues to grow in recognition locally and globally as a wine destination, we’ll be here to help nurture it every step of the way.  

2023 Idaho Winery Tour Brochure

2023 Idaho Winery Tour Brochure

Get ready for a generous pour of information. Check out this year’s brochure and see all the places where we can raise a glass together.

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