June is Idaho Wine Month according to the Wine Lover’s Calendar and I am trying to keep ahead of the curve, if I can. Unfortunately, I have to admit a sum total knowledge of the wines of Idaho as zero. I do not even recall seeing a bottle of Idaho wine at any merchant I have been to, so I had to do some research, as I have never even been to the state as well.
It is said that Idaho was the first area to be planted for wine grapes in the Pacific North-West in 1864 and I guess they had pretty good acclaim back in the day. Then the Volstead Act or Prohibition arrived and decimated that part of agriculture in Idaho. Vodka and Beer are the two leading alcoholic beverages produced in Idaho, but in the 1970’s replanting of grapes had begun. The climate in Idaho is considered a “Continental Climate” similar to what is found in France for the Languedoc-Rousillon and also the Provence district. The sandy soil and the weather fluctuations mean that the phylloxera louse that can cause such havoc to vineyards is not a concern in Idaho.
I have found that there are 299 vineyards listed for Idaho and that the leading wine grapes grown are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Syrah and Gewürztraminer. There is also the Snake River Valley AVA and the potential for a couple of more AVA designations in the near future. I shall have to try to make a mental note to look for an Idaho wine, the next time I visit my children out in Las Vegas, as I might have better luck there.