Idaho has long been considered an agricultural haven, known for growing crops such as onions, corn, apples, cherries, peaches and, yes, potatoes.
Now, the Gem State is gaining a reputation as a burgeoning wine region.
Grapes have been grown in Idaho for more than a century, but the modern wine industry began in the 1970s with the launch of Ste. Chapelle — still Idaho’s largest producer.
Now Idaho is home to more than 50 wineries that stretch from Boise in the south to the top end of the Panhandle near the Canadian border. The majority of Idaho’s vineyards — more than 1,000 acres — are grown in the warm, high-altitude Snake River Valley that surrounds the cities of Caldwell and Nampa west of Boise.
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In addition, a few vineyards are being planted near the city of Lewiston, where the proposed Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticultural Area is gaining momentum.
We recently conducted the fifth annual Idaho Wine Competition and tasted through about 150 entries. The judges were impressed with Idaho winemakers’ progress in crafting high-quality wines.
The wines we’ve reviewed here are examples of the best we tasted.