Idaho has a long and storied past when it comes to its history with local vineyards and wineries. From the mid-1800s when the first mention of a local vineyard appeared in the Idaho Statesman, to the present day, this state has always been an excellent one for growing grapes for fermentation. As one thinks about relocating to Idaho, keeping in mind the little known niceties of living here, such as an ever-growing number of local wineries, is always a good idea.
Although the wine industry in Idaho began in the 1800s, it was stopped dead in its tracks in 1919 with the introduction of Prohibition to our nation's constitution. All wine production and grape growing ceased, and even when Prohibition was lifted in 1933, the grape industry was slow to recover. The Snake River Valley was the first to see a resurgence of vineyards relocating to Idaho in the 1970s, and in 1976 Idaho's biggest winery, Ste. Chapelle, opened (idahowines.org). By 2002, Idaho's wine industry had experienced a small surge and boasted eleven wineries. Thanks to a study by Boise State University, it was found that this industry had an $73,000,000 impact on the state's economy. This number helped even more people wanting to grow grapes and produce wine make the decision regarding relocating to Idaho, and now there are over fifty wineries located here (examiner.com).
Why Grapes Love Idaho
So, what makes Idaho such a great place to grow good wine producing grapes? Some of the same things that make it such a fantastic place to call home. Idaho has four distinct seasons that aid in the grape growing process. Summer temperatures have a daily range from warm to cool, this helps in balancing the sugars and acids in the grapes. A specific balance is necessary to help create longevity and flavor within the wine. Too much rain is bad for grapes causing irregularities in acidity, and vineyard owners in Idaho have the unique opportunity to give their grapes the exact amount of water they need through irrigation. The winters are cold enough to help the vines to go dormant. This, again, is important for the outcome of the grapes and ultimately the wine. The cool temperatures also help keep the vines bug free by naturally killing them off before the growing season begins again.
The grape growing and wine creating operations in Idaho range from small to large scale wineries. We have many different kinds of grapes that result in varying types of wine, these wines have ranked 22nd in the nation, and that is with the wine and grape industry in Idaho just beginning to gain recognition (idahowines.org). As word spreads about the incredible growing season, ideal climate, and amazing wine, it is expected that even more winemakers will be relocating to Idaho and bring with them more recognition and business.
Idaho's wine industry may just be gaining national recognition, but it is growing rapidly, and this growth is not expected to slow down anytime soon. There is still untapped potential here, and it will be exciting to see where this burgeoning industry goes in the next several years. It is safe to say, however, that there will be more and more people taking note of Idaho's wines in the near future.