Made in Idaho: Potter Wines

Home of some "spicy" wines
Posted at 9:31 AM, Jan 15, 2021

GARDEN CITY, Idaho — The holidays may be over, but the cold is here to stay for a while.

That means there's nothing better than curling up in front of the fireplace under a warm blanket sipping on a hot beverage, and if you've ever been to Potter Wines, that beverage might be a different kind of hot... spicy!

Potter Wines in Garden City got its start in an unusual way. In 2007, co-owner Von Potter decided to play around with something in his backyard.

"I had a house in Meridian that had some 50-year old grapevines so I just started messing around with it and decided that I'll make wine with it," said Von.

With his wife Crystal, the Idaho couple self-taught themselves and started making a variety of wines that they would sell at local farmer's markets and win competitions with. But it wasn't until 2011 that Von came up with a game-changing idea.

"He came to me and said he wanted to make jalapeno wine. And I said that sounds terrible, don't ever do that," Crystal said.

Little did they know that their newly-discovered jalapeno wine, and eventually several variations of it, would become their best sellers.

"We had this product that people could have fun with, they could cook with it, they could make cocktails, they could sip on it if they really like heat, I think we just thought, we have something that no one else has," laughed Crystal Potter.

It's a unique product that Director of Sales Chris Carlson has no problem selling, as long as he can get potential buyers to give it a go!

"If I can get somebody to try it, it sells itself. And our jalapeno wine lemonade, which is our biggest seller, that one if somebody tries it, they are immediately hooked," he said.

After years of dominating the competition and farmer's market circuit, they realized it was probably time to upgrade.

"We were being asked questions like do you have a tasting room? can I come in? Can I bring my friends? And at a certain point, you realize okay this is great, we're going to the people, we have this mobile tasting room, we need to provide somewhere that they can come hang, have a glass of wine," said Crystal.

And in 2018, they made it happen.

"We opened the tasting room in Garden City, and we also make our wine there so there's a full-scale production room in the back as well," Crystal explained.

Oh, and by the way, they're not using grapes from the backyard anymore.

"We're grown up a little bit since then. We get all our grapes from the Snake River Valley, so we have three vineyards that we typically source from," said Von.

And they're always collaborating with other local Treasure Valley businesses.

"Well to be part of something that is local, was basically born local, and supports local, it means a lot and it goes a long way towards keeping the small businesses open and hopefully growing," said Carlson.

And as this Made in Idaho small business grows, they want everyone to know that it doesn't matter if you're a wine connoisseur or just looking for a smooth adult beverage, Potter Wines welcomes you.

"So we have a motto at the tasting room; 'Stay open wined-ed.' For people to just come and they can learn about wine, they can try different things, or if they only want traditional wines, we just wanted to provide a place that people can relax, have fun, and maybe try something new and broaden their horizons a little bit," said Crystal.

And on a side note, the Potter Wines tasting room was set up to be COVID safe even before the pandemic hit, with tables spaced out at least ten feet apart and limited capacity for the best experience.