Idaho Wine Industry: No Longer Small Potatoes?


It must be tough being neighbors with one of America's premier winemaking states.
Recent statistics show that Idaho's wine industry is on the rise and though the state's production and quality is not at the same level as world-class neighbor Washington, the state is making significant progress, according to a recent story by Idaho Fox-affiliate FOX9.
“The Idaho Wine Commission certainly has something to toast their glasses to,” the news outlet reported this past Tuesday. “In a new report by wine think tank group Stonebridge, 2013 was the most productive year the Idaho wine industry has seen to date.”
FOX9 reported that Idaho's wine industry production “yielded over 234,000 cases of wine” in 2013, compared with 179,000 cases in 2012.
Idaho Department of Commerce Director Jeff Sayer told FOX9 increased community support has been an important factor in the state’s emerging wine industry.
“Local support is key to having a successful wine industry and local restaurants and Idahoans are becoming the biggest cheerleaders for Idaho wine,” Sayer said. “I look forward to seeing this industry continue to grow.”
According to the FOX9 report, the wine industry provided the state with 1,200 full-time jobs in 2013.
A press release from Pend d'Oreille Winery backed up the employment numbers, saying the winery “grew (their) employment by 50% last year in production and sales.”
The Idaho Wine Commission said the total number of wineries in the state is 51, a nearly 500 percent increase over the state's total of 11 wineries in 2002.
The state's wineries harvested 2,472 tons of grapes in 2013, averaging 2,816 tons over the past five years. 
In 2008, the industry had an impact of $78 million on Idaho's economy, the wine commission reported. 
The state is home to one American Viticultural Area, the Snake River Valley. This past year, however, the government accepted Idaho's application for a second AVA .
Two Snake River Valley offerings made The Seattle Times “Top 50 for 2014” wine list – Coiled Wines' 2013 dry Riesling and Huston Vineyards' 2012 Malbec.
The Coiled Wines Riesling was “one of the most dramatic Rieslings in the Northwest, thanks to notes of green apple, minerality and spine-shivering acidity,” Times contributor Andy Perdue said.
The Huston Malbec was “perfectly balanced … with bright red fruit” and “the top-ranked Idaho wine using Idaho grapes,” Perdue said.

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