vineyard elevations (ranging up to 3,000 feet) are higher than most
others in the Northwest and soils are comprised of primarily
volcanic-ash. Add to that long, warm daylight hours during grape-growing season
- typical of northern latitudes and arid climates, cool summer evenings
characteristic of desert environments and you have a combination of
factors that contributes to producing quality wine grapes with concentrated fruit flavors and
naturally high acidities. And that is the foundation
of Idaho's growing wine industry.
Most of Idaho's wineries are concentrated
along the southwestern portion of the Snake
River Valley. Half a dozen more are clustered in the
part of the Snake River Valley
appellation, between Mountain Home and
Twin Falls, and three others are north of Twin Falls, off of
Hwy 93 in Ketchum near Sun Valley. The
northern part of Idaho State
is home to another six wineries with 14 more close by, just
west across the Washington border.
The Snake River Valley became
Idaho's first appellation
in 2007, authorized by the US Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and
Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The climatic influence of the
Snake River creates a favorable growing environment for vinifera
grapes, as do other great rivers in
premium winegrowing areas worldwide. Although few grapes are
grown in Idaho's spectacular north country (referred to as
the "Panhandle"), the six wineries currently located there
create distinctive wines from many fine vineyards located in
the Snake River Valley and Eastern Washington.
Most Idaho wineries are small and
only a few have a presence on the wine lists of restaurants outside the
state -- although that number is growing. Likewise, Idaho wines
are somewhat scarce on the
shelves of wine shops outside the local area.
best and most rewarding way to access a wide array of Idaho's distinctive wines is to plan
a visit to the winery tasting rooms themselves.
The map and links below allow you to explore the wines and
wineries of each of Idaho's wine producing areas. You will also find lodging, dining,
special events and
organized within these regions. Click on the region of your choice below.
1997 - 2013 Susan R. O'Hara.
All rights reserved.
Number of Wineries
2010 - 40+
2008 - 32
2006 - 23 wineries
2003 - 15 wineries
1998 - 13 wineries
2006 - 1,500
2003 - 1,300
1998 - 820
Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Fumé
Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir,
Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Syrah
Malbec, Petite Syrah,
Petite Verdot, Tempranillo,
Tinta Cão, Touriga Nacional,
Touriga Francesa, Zinfandel
Fruit Wines & Brandies
Ice Wines & Late-Harvest