Idaho Wines: A growing industry

$170 million dollar estimated economic impact
Posted at 6:25 PM, Jun 08, 2016

This week's record high temperatures may well send people scrambling indoors to stay cool, but it's a good start for Idaho Wine Month, and experts say the heat is good for the grapes. 

"You want hot weather for grapes, up to a point," says Maurine Johnson, the Winemaker with a 29-year career at Ste. Chapelle Winery in Caldwell, Idaho. The winery is proudly serving a Muscat this year at Savor Idaho, one of the region's largest wine events. Though the event is sold out, there are still plenty of opportunities to sample Idaho wines. Many wineries hold tastings.

Analysts say Idaho offers some competitive advantages that yield great grape taste: Winters are cold, which allow vines to rest in-between harvests, and the cool nights and hot days of summer give a good chemical balance to the grapes that helps make them delicious for wine production.

The industry has grown from a $72 million dollar industry in 2008 to a nearly $170 million dollar industry in 2015. 

"In the next 5 or 10 years it's going to explode. And we'll be along for the ride," says Moya Shatz Dolsby of the Idaho Grape Growers and Wine Producer's Commission.