Meet the Masterminds Crafting Irresistible Idaho Sparkling Wines

Pop pop.  Fizz fizz.  Sparkling.  Bubbling.  Delectable.  Those are just some of the words we use to sum up the fantastic Idaho sparkling wine.  There is something to be said about that feeling you get when you open a bottle and hear that cork pop off.  A lot of that feeling could be relief that you managed to get that bottle open without the cork hitting anything or anyone! Then you pour that first glass and watch the bubbles release and move about the glass like they are doing a dance they learned on Tik Tok.  And oh…that first sip? If you know, you know!

Proletariat sparkling rosé being poured into glasses
Man and woman from 3100 Cellars pouring Idaho sparkling wine into mouth

Here in Idaho, several winemakers across the state have ventured into the world of sparkling wine and have been very successful. Check off another box on the list of why Idaho wines are great and be sure to check out our ‘Idaho Sparkling Wines’ blog post from earlier this month  to find out where you can have a glass of sparkling wine in Idaho

The Visionaries Behind The Bubbles of Idaho Sparkling Wine

We cannot talk about sparkling wine without talking about the people who make it.  Elizabeth Baggerly, owner of Proletariat Wine Co, Jed Glavin, owner and winemaker for Split Rail Winery, and Hailey Minder, owner and winemaker for 3100 Cellars, took time out of their busy schedules to talk with us about their experiences with sparkling wine.  

Since 2010, Elizabeth, Hailey and Jed have been making their mark on our industry.  When Hailey isn’t boating through Hells Canyon with a chardonnay in her hand, Jed isn’t “burning meat” with a good glass of Cabernet, and Elizabeth isn’t laying on the beach sippin’ on Sauvignon Blanc, they are all hard at work at their individual wineries making magic in a bottle.

Split Rail’s Introduction To Idaho Sparkling Wine

Jed from Split Rail Winery producing sparkling wine
Jed from Split Rail Winery producing sparkling wine
Jed and worker from Split Rail Winery bottling sparkling wine

Jed was influenced to make sparkling wine by the fabulous Casey Lea, Split Rail’s General Manager.  She knows a good glass of bubbly when she tastes it and knew Split Rail could produce a unique version all on their own.  True to their nature, Split Rail implored a non-traditional method of fermentation known as the Ancestral Method, which we discussed on one of our previous blog posts.  Their signature sparkling wines are all in the petillant natural (aka pet-nat) style.

3100 Cellars’ Introduction To Idaho Sparkling Wine

co Ampersand Studios Rose Over

Photo credit: Ampersand Studios

Bottles of sparkling wine from 3100 Cellars

Hailey Minder was encouraged by her husband Marshall to make bubbles but immediately declined thinking that they “couldn’t just start a sparkling wine house!” Fast forward to 2024 and 3100 Cellars is consistently producing sparkling wines using the traditional method.  Once a year they also take on the challenge of producing sparkling wine using the ancestral method. 

Proletariat Wine Co.’s Introduction To Idaho Sparkling Wine

Elizabeth is one of 3 owners of Proletariat Wine Co.  Their new brick and mortar in Garden City is a testament to the success they have had in Washington and they have now planted roots in Idaho.  Elizabeth and her counterparts all love bubbles to their heart's content and had every confidence in their wine maker,  Sean Boyd, was the right person to “create something {their} customers would want to drink.”

Proletariat Winery team smiling
Big group of Proletariat team members
Proletariat winemakers smiling with glasses of sparkling wine

According to Elizabeth, Proletariat has proprietary partnerships with sparkling wine production companies that have been able to master non-traditional methods with technology that create exquisite wines at affordable prices.  And the proof is in the…nope, not the pudding…it’s in the wine!! 

Uncorking The Challenges Behind Sparkling Wine Production

As romantic and magical as we all want to believe the process of making wine is, there are always challenges and intensive labor processes involved.

  1. Finding the perfect balance between acid, sugar and carbonation to produce the perfect glass of bubbles.  
  2. Disgorging the bottles of wine when using the ancestral method is labor intensive and can lead to loss of the wine from the bottle.  
  3. Equipment, higher tax brackets, and money for investment are all relevant issues when it comes to sparkling wine in Idaho.  
  4. Hailey was particularly challenged with finding a grower who would let a small block of fruit “grow bushy for extra shading on the fruit section, or allowing them to hang heavier.”   
  5. Jed emphasizes that it is difficult to “predict when the wine could be ready to bottle since it has to be a very calculated point of fermentation.”  It is not unusual for his staff to be bottling wine over a long and late night or on a holiday.  
  6. Elizabeth finds it tricky to make “delicious wines that can be integrated into the winery’s practices and that are cost effective for both the winery and its customers.”

Raising A Glass To Innovation

When asked what advice they would give to someone wanting to make a sparkling wine for the first time, there was a consensus to “DO IT!”  Some other hints offered were to do your homework, come up with a good plan, more bubbles are better and finally, “you gots to be ready to drank.”  Thanks for that last one Jed!

Pouring a glass of Idaho Sparkling Wine in front of a beautiful scene of the sun shining just over the distant mountains

As wine consumers, we all need to give credit to the hard work that goes into every glass we take a sip from. Perhaps in your wine adventures you have heard the concept of the winemaker telling a story through their wine.  This is such a unique concept and makes you truly respect the journey from vine to wine.  

Elizabeth, Hailey and Jed are among many of Idaho’s extraordinary winery owners and winemakers who make the Idaho wine industry stand out amongst the rest.  If you have not visited their wineries, please do yourself a favor and run, don’t walk, to grab yourself a glass of Idaho bubbly! Check out all the Idaho wineries producing fantastic bubbles for you to taste.  Cheers to you all!

Idaho wineries serving sparkling wine are listed here:

3100 Cellars, Holesinsky Vineyard and Winery, Proletariat Wine Company, Split Rail Winery, Rolling HIlls Vineyard, Telaya Wine Co., Snake River Winery, Sawtooth Winery and Ste Chapelle