When thinking of Idaho, most people think of outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and whitewater rafting. But Idaho is becoming well known for something else–wine.  Idaho’s fantastic wines have become widely known and appreciated by national and international wine experts as well. Over the past few years, several Idaho wineries have produced wines that have been recognized at national competitions as some of the “Best in the Northwest.”

Growing wine in Idaho has been a long tradition since 1863 when the first vineyard was planted. Under the influence of French and German winegrowers, vineyards began to spread all across the state. Today, the majority of Idaho wines are produced in the Southwestern region of the state along the Snake River as the area offers a moderate four-season climate and soil ideal for growing great wines. To date, there are about 30 vineyards and wineries in the state, many which offer tours of their facilities.

Tours of Idaho’s wine country are available in the Northern, Southwestern and South Central regions of the state. Visitors can learn about winemaking and try delicate new releases in the tasting rooms, often accompanied by appetizers and music.

During the summer, several wineries offer events to promote their current releases and to give tours of their facilities. Ste. Chapelle, Idaho’s largest winery located in Caldwell, hosts several musical groups throughout the summer. Visit www.stechapelle.com for more information.

On August 21-22 the Eagle Food & Wine Festival promotes great local wine. The festival officially kicks off on Friday, August 21 from 6:30 to 10:30 at the BSU Stueckle Sky Center with Gala Dinner and Auction. On Saturday, August 22 the events will be held at Merrill Park offering a variety of activities. Idaho Chefs will prepare delicate meals to be served together with local wines while food and wine vendors as well as artists are waiting in their booths to offer exciting and tasty entertainment. Tickets are available for $75 for the Gala Dinner on Friday, $50 for the Chefs’ tent on Saturday and $20 for the actual festival.

The wine tasting continues in September when the Idaho Cutting Horse Association hosts the 2nd annual Wine Tasting and Art Show on September 4 at the Idaho Horse Park Sports Arena in Nampa. From 4:00 to 7:00pm visitors can taste local wines, view art and get together in a fun setting.

On Saturday September 12, the 5th annual Taste of Idaho event takes place at Qwest Arena in downtown Boise. Starting at 10:00am, a variety of Idaho foods and wine will be offered for sample or purchase. The event will be held in conjunction with the second annual Taste of Idaho Chef Challenge where local chefs will be part of culinary competitions preparing local foods. Tickets are $5 with additional $5 for a wine glass while kids under 12 are free.

Visit Idaho

Published on October 8, 2015