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Mixing wine and history at Eagle's Dude DeWalt Cellars

Posted at 1:53 PM, Jun 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 14:06:42-04

Dude Dewalt Cellars in Eagle, or The Dude as we can call it for this story, officially opened its doors in 2020 and is one of only three American Viticulture Areas in Idaho.

"It's a national designation that is given to areas that are unique in their soil type, maybe weather patterns, and just something that makes them unique. Potentially a specific type of grape with different flavors and aromas to it," said Dude DeWalt Cellars co-owner, Trae Buchert.

The Dude Winery was in fact named after a real person, Clarence DeWalt, though everyone just called him Dude.

"It was what all of his family members and ranchers would call him. It was not his real name," said Buchert.

But generations later, the Dude's family was excited to see a winery named after him, keeping the family name going strong.

"It's interesting, though, with the family members because we've had a lot of them stop by here and a lot from out of the area. In fact, they had a family reunion here this summer," said Buchert.

The Bucherts bought the property where Dude Winery stands in 2001, but it wasn't until ten years later that his wife started taking wine-making lessons.

That led to years of trial and error.

"You can't just repeat the process, you know, next month and see if you get better at it. You get one chance each year, so hopefully, everything aligns. The weather, the ripeness of the grapes, and you get a little bit better every year. So every year since it's just one of those things that kind of becomes addictive, and we always look forward to harvest time," said Buchert.

One thing the family didn't plan on was opening the Dude during a global pandemic, but luckily, they'd been planning the opening for a very long time.

"To start a business like this in that type of a situation was not the worst thing for us because this is totally new for us so we're trying to learn right out of the gates, how to operate a business, the point of sales system, dealing with customers coming in, and tastings, and everything," said Buchert.

Idaho Wine and Cider Month is a special time for Dude DeWalt Cellars and all wineries across the state.

"I think it's an opportunity for us to showcase our wines, and just show people that we're out here. and that the wine industry is healthy, that we can produce quality wines here, and that people don't have to go to California or Washington to get a high-quality wine," said Buchert.