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Make your escape

Posted by Idaho Wine Commission on Jul 1, 2020

With most big summer travel plans on hold, weekend getaways outdoors are becoming more popular than ever. I mean, who doesn't love a good road trip, right? All you need is a car, a quality playlist and a destination.

Besides, why splurge on a luxurious trip abroad when there are parts of your own backyard that you haven’t seen yet? A road trip is one of the most cost-efficient ways to travel and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.

But to make the most of any adventure, you need the right beverage. And for that, we have a few ideas.

Biking the Greenbelt

The Boise River Greenbelt, which turned 50 in 2019, is one of Boise's most beloved parks. Tracing a 25-mile route along the Boise River, the cyclist and pedestrian trail runs through the heart of downtown, offering an oasis of green where Boiseans can reconnect with nature and each other.

Dotted along its tree-lined way — like offshoots of some lush and wild vine — are some the city's most popular riverside parks (including Julia Davis Park, home of Zoo Boise), which collectively is known as the Ribbon of Jewels.

But for wine lovers, the real jewels are the handful of wineries that can be found along the way, including Coiled Wines, Cinder Wines, Split Rail Winery, Telaya Wine Co. and Potter Wines.

This part of town, in the trendy Garden City neighborhood, has become known as the "Southwest Urban wine region." Due to its proliferation of diverse cuisine, art, culture, and outdoor recreation, it's the perfect place to sip and sample with friends.

Rafting the whitewater

Top to bottom, Idaho is home to some of the best whitewater in the country. It's frequently ranked first in the United States by outdoor magazines, making it a kayak and whitewater destination for river rafting enthusiasts from all of the world.

And what could possibly pair better with a day of whitewater than cool, refreshing wine spritzer from Meriwether Cider Company, their homegrown response to the hard seltzer craze. These crisp and seasonable beverages come in 12 oz cans, making them perfect for any outdoor adventure – from the big waves of the Lower Salmon River to the chill vibes of your own backyard hammock.

And because of their low ABV, you can still stay sharp for the rapids that lay ahead. They're also low-calorie, made from fresh fruit (no sugar), so you don't have to feel like all your hard work has gone to waste.

As our friends at Meriwether would say, "To adventures big and small."

Boating on Lake Pend Oreille

A road trip that ends on the water? That's unexpected, but totally worth it. At 43 miles long, Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho's largest lake. It's also the deepest at more than 1,150 feet, one of the four deepest lakes in the nation.

In addition to 111 miles of shoreline, there are parks, boat launches, picnic sites and trails to explore. There's also the a fine collection of northwest wines at Pend d'Oreille Winery, a Sandpoint institution since 1995.

Its tasting room, located inside the beautifully restored Belwood Building in downtown Sandpoint, offers 5 tastes for $5. But we recommend their 1.5 L refillable growlers, one of the first refillable programs introduced in the northwest. The growler gives you the freedom to securely stow and carry Idaho wines to anywhere you're headed on the lake.

If you don't own a water vessel of your own, rental companies in Sandpoint, Bayview and Hope offer watercraft rentals, including kayaks, jet skis, ski boats, pontoon boats and sail boats. A number of major marinas around the lake supply fuel, food and other services.

Hiking in Sawtooth, McCall or Sun Valley National Forest

If you prefer your adventure on dry land, Idaho's impressive selection of forest and parks offers more than 19,000 miles of hiking trails — featuring wide variations in length, difficulty and environment. Whether you're off to explore one of our national forests or parks, make sure to go to the Sunnyslope Wine Trail first for more growlers to go! If you're coming to one of these destinations from Washington or Oregon, Sunnyslope is on your way.

Sunnyslope, nestled in the scenic Snake River Valley AVA, boasts more than 15 wineries and vineyards, award-winning wines, and intimate tasting and dining experiences, all framed by panoramic views of the Snake River.

Once you're loaded up with growlers from Koenig Vineyards, Ste. Chapelle Winery, Fujishin Family Cellars or one of the other stops on the trail, you're less than a three-hour drive from Sawtooth or Payette National Forests and the renowned Sun Valley.

Of course, if Sunnyslope is the only trail you go down, you won't be disappointed. A road trip is seldom about the destination. It’s the experience of the journey that’s all the fun.

Park it on a patio

Look, there are many ways to vacation. And they don't all have to be filled with outdoor adventure. Sometimes, a change of scenery is all you need. So, for those who prefer a beautiful patio to stand-up paddle boards and the like, we see you.

Idaho is filled with beautiful wineries where you can spend hours engaged in good conversation and even better wines. We don't have the time or the space to name them all, but here are a few notables...

Telaya Wine Company - Located on the bank of the Boise River, Telaya's tasting room and expansive patio encourages conversation, leisure and space. Plus, it's dog friendly!

Sawtooth Estate Winery - With fly-fishing gear adorning the walls of Sawtooth's tasting room, this brand evokes the enticing, vast and rugged Idaho outdoors and offers sweeping views of its prolific slopes.

Ste. Chapelle - You may not expect to find a Gothic chapel in the middle of rural Idaho, but there it is, with an octagonal tasting room inspired by the medieval French original of the same name in Paris. Speaking of originals, Ste. Chapelle is one of Idaho's oldest wineries still operating. So, stopping here lets you see where the modern Idaho wine-craze began.

Holesinsky Winery - If you find yourself in Eastern Idaho, specifically Buhl, stop by for a glass of USDA-certified organic wine on their tree-enclosed patio.

Be free. But don't go wild.

There's a spontaneity to road trips that's intoxicating. Nevertheless, we'd be remiss without saying that many of the activities we mentioned here require your care and attention.

So, while we encourage you to throw off the chains of your everyday existence, we also remind you to drink responsibly while you do.

Topics: Support Local Wine, Idaho Wine Events, Wine Travel

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