Life has changed in so many ways over the past year. But not all change is bad, as this half-dozen of new wineries and tasting rooms in Idaho are here to prove. And with vaccines and temperatures on the rise, there’s no better time to get out and get familiar with the newest members of the Idaho wine-growing community.
Cabin View Winery
A cabin with a view
Located just outside of beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho, Cabin View Winery is nestled into the rolling foothills of the Cabinet Mountains at around 3,000 feet of elevation. Cabin View Winery was named for the breath-taking “cabin view” the winery gives visitors of the surrounding environs. Jim Mills is the lead winemaker, with more than 20 years of experience in the wine industry, both close to home (at one of the largest wineries in Washington State) and far, far away (New Zealand, to be exact). With grapes sourced from the premier Elephant Mountain and Sugarloaf vineyards of the Rattlesnake Hills AVA in Washington, Cabin View harvested and released their first wines last fall. Offerings include Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Dolcetto, Syrah, among others.
Cuesta Sol Vineyards
Spanish for Sunny Slope
Rising up in the sunny Snake River Valley, the aptly named Cuesta Sol Vineyard is just beginning production with plans to open in Spring 2022. Cofounded by sisters Jackie Groves and Susan Zwingli, Cuesta Sol is the manifestation of a life-long love of wine and bringing people together. While they are new to wine, the vineyard they’ve purchased is mature. They already have planted and are producing Cab Franc, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Barbera (an unusual grape for this area). As a newcomer to the Idaho wine scene, Jackie has sought and found support from other encouraging area winemakers. “I wouldn’t be here, and this wouldn’t be happening the way it is, without the support of the people from other wineries out here,” she explains.
Dude DeWalt Cellars
A mythic figure inspires new legends
Pour a glass and prepare to hear the tale of Dude DeWalt, the eponymous hero of Dude DeWalt Cellars. Back in the 1930s, Clarence “Dude” DeWalt was a sheep foreman. One evening, Clarence and a few other dudes invited two women from town to join them for drinks. A fight ensued and Dude was stabbed. Inspired by his story and the rugged spirit of the rugged Eagle Foothills area, winemakers Trae and Johnna Buchert founded the winery in 2011. Their first six years of winemaking were done in the garage and barn, grapes were pressed with a hand-crank basket press and wine was bottled by hand. Last year, they opened a beautiful new tasting room in the Eagle Foothills. And a new legend begins.
Where kindred spirits come together
With a long history of growing fruit, rich soils and a history of farming, it’s no surprise that the vast majority of Idaho’s wine grapes are grown in the Sunnyslope region. Kindred Vineyards carries on that tradition as the newest winery on the Sunnyslope Wine Trail. Inspired by a trip to Tuscany, where friends and family regularly gather for great conversation and great wine, owner Craig Davis made plans to carve out a place in the Snake River Valley, where kindred spirits could come together and do the same. The vineyard was purchased and planted in 2015. The wines range from a lovely, crisp unoaked Chardonnay and a classic new French oak fermented Chardonnay to an estate-grown Sangiovese and a great pair of Pinot Noirs. An 800,000-gallon pond, an amphitheater, and extended patio and deck space are exciting things to watch for in the future.
Rolling Hills Vineyard
New winemakers and their dog Bleu
Rolling Hills Vineyard owners Mark Pasculli and his wife, Lori, had always dreamed of having a vineyard. For Lori, Rolling Hills is a return to her childhood roots. Her family owned a winery, and she grew up helping farm on it – giving her a wealth of knowledge on growing grapes and making great wines. The Pascullis have approximately 5,300 plants, the equivalent of 7 acres, and grow a variety of grapes. Currently, their tasting room in Garden City is under construction with an expected grand opening in spring 2021. You can follow their progress on their Facebook page, where you’ll also find their Bleu, their four-legged mascot who’s regularly featured. But the real stars are the wines. Last year, their 2019 Rosé won silver in the Idaho Wine Competition.
Sol Invictus Vineyard
Welcome to the family
Majestic vistas and remarkable wines are the hallmarks of Sol Invictus Vineyard, a small, veteran-owned, and family-operated estate in the Treasure Valley. Their story began in the beautiful Rhine wine valley while stationed in Germany. Although their inspiration goes even further back in history. Sol Invictus was the official sun god of the Romans and a patron of soldiers. As a family with a rich military history, Scott and Denise Smith “understand sacrifice, hard work, and dedication…to our country, each other, the land, fruit, and wine-making process,” they explain on their website. But their real devotion is to the large extended family of guests and visitors who come to try their wines, to whom they swear to deliver the perfect balance of wine, friendship and service.
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