Meet the Faces Behind The Types of Wine You Love In Idaho

Earlier this month, you were introduced to the types of wine that are unique to Idaho and where you can have a glass of those wines. We all know the winemaker puts their stamp on every different wine type they produce and that it is a labor of love.  But we need to also give credit to those faces that greet us each time we enter a tasting room. 

There is something to be said about walking into a beautiful winery and having a tasting room employee greet you by name, or just greet you with a warm and embracing smile, letting you know you are welcome. It is time to put the spotlight on the wonderful people who pour those delicious drops of Idaho wine into our glasses.   

These three women are powerhouses in their own and are devoted champions for the Idaho Wine Industry. Let’s get to know each of these incredible women!

Meet Korina Bennallack from Dude DeWalt Cellars


Korina is the General Manager at Dude DeWalt Cellars, a scenic hilltop winery nestled in the Eagle Foothills. She earned her WSET Level 2 in 2023 and knows her wines. When not engaging with customers, she loves to share with them how important it is to Dude DeWalt Cellars that every wine they produce is sourced from Idaho grapes.  She notes that in the past 4 years, their ability to source Idaho fruit has grown tremendously.  They have a long term goal of wine production using Idaho grown or estate grown grapes.  

More often than not, Korina encounters a customer who has yet to partake in the wine tasting experience and she has to guide them on their journey.  She recommends they try Dude DeWalts 2022 Snake River Valley Chardonnay or the 2020 Snake River Valley Tempranillo.  It should be noted that Dude DeWalt makes an effort to give credit on their wine labels to the vineyard it was sourced from in keeping with the theme of promoting Idaho grown grapes. 

When Korina steps away from the tasting room, you will find her in her backyard, enjoying a homemade cheeseburger with all of the fixings and a glass of Dude DeWalt red wine, and spending time with her family, 3 dogs and beloved horses. 

Meet Sara Wilson from Clearwater Canyon Cellars

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Sara Wilson is the Wine Club and Sales Manager at Clearwater Canyon Cellars which is located in the picturesque Lewis and Clark American Viticulture Area (AVA). She is a Certified Sommelier and completed her WSET Level 2 certification as well.  She loves to share her wine knowledge with customers and also let them know that all of the staff at Clearwater Canyon Cellars work not only in the tasting room, but also in the vineyard and cellar.  

She is proud to show people where the glass of wine they are drinking was grown, produced and bottled, all within the confines of the Clearwater Canyon Cellars tasting room. She will recommend that a first time visitor try any Idaho syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot or chardonnay.  

Now…let’s talk about food! Sara’s food and wine pairing recommendations deserve an entire post devoted to just that!  Warning: don’t read this list on an empty stomach or you will find yourself at the grocery store buying ingredients to make everything on it! Sara’s red wine food pairings are: 

  1. Bacon wrapped meatloaf with Syrah
  2. Wild mushroom tart with with cheddar sauce and Merlot
  3. Savor beef, tomato and potato stew with Cabernet Franc
  4. Parmesan crusted halibut with creamy risotto and Chardonnay

Are you hungry yet?  Sara loves Idaho’s many seasons (including fake spring) but particularly enjoys the snow.  She enjoys concerts with live music, good food, spending time with friends, and of course, wine.

Meet Cindy Jones from Coiled Wine


Last, but certainly not least, is Cindy Jones. Cindy is a passionate member of the tasting room staff at Coiled Wines, an urban winery in Garden City. She is one of the most passionate oenophiles and if you have not been to Coiled Wine and done a wine tasting with her, you are missing out.  Currently, Cindy is studying for her WSET Level 4 diploma in wine.  

In another life, she was a dancer and dance professor.  Her prior teaching career shows through in how she walks you through a wine tasting and explains wine in a way that is not intimidating.  Her goal when engaging with customers is to make “wine feel more accessible” and to “welcome them into the space and find out what they already like. 

She is devoted to Leslie Preston’s vision for Coiled Wine and loves for people to try Leslie’s Sparkling Riesling White Wine, Petit Verdot and Petit Sirah. With names like Rizza and Black Mamba for the Riesling and Petit Verdot respectively, and a gorgeous Coiled rose on the label of the Petit Syrah, your curiosity should have you in your car driving to Garden City in no time! 

Cindy has pushed her WSET professors to devote curriculum to Idaho wines because she believes in our industry and says the wines here are “becoming too good to be ignored.” 

When Cindy isn’t busting a move on the dance floor, she is reading, making pottery, spending time with her family, or drinking a glass of Coiled’s Rizza, which goes with everything! 

Advice From Tasting Room Experts

While separately interviewing these three tasting room experts, there was one answer that stood out the most. They were each asked individually; ‘which wines in Idaho deserve more recognition?’ Their answers were the same; Idaho red wines need more love and deserve to be placed amongst the best. They all believe in locally sourced wine and in the state of Idaho’s ability to grow and rank amongst the best.

Explore Idaho Wines with Stellar Customer Service

What makes Idaho wineries so unique is the customer service provided by the people who run the tasting rooms. No matter where they are from, their backgrounds or experiences, they all exude the kindness that Idaho is known for while displaying a passion for Idaho wines.  

More often than not, the person pouring your glass of wine, had their hands dirty during harvest and helped with the production of that wine.  Don’t be afraid to ask a question next time you are at a winery. The tasting room staff are knowledgeable and dedicated to the promotion of Idaho wine. Cheers!