The history of wine production in Idaho is rich and diverse. The Gem State has some of the highest elevation of planted vineyards in the United States and located in the Lewis and Clark Valley AVA are the oldest grape vines in the state, planted as early as 1872. Though located in northern Idaho and southeastern Washington, the area is surprisingly temperate and produces high quality grapes. The Lewis and Clark Valley was far and away the first wine region of Idaho, but it hit a major setback in 1916 with the onset of nation-wide Prohibition. When Idaho wine production once again resumed in the 1970’s, it was the Snake River Valley who began planting wine grapes eventually claiming the state’s first AVA designation.
Some of the most exceptional wines one might taste in Idaho are Viogneir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay; the growing conditions are ideal. Tempranillo is well known to flourish in the region, which shares the same latitude as the Spanish region of Rioja, where the grape originates. As Idaho’s wineries continue to grow and receive well-deserved recognition, the more opportunity there is to taste award-winning wines and tour the unique winery landscapes in this magical state of Idaho.