Beautiful look down a dirt road separating two vineyard blocks with a sunset sky in the background

The AVAs of Idaho

Idaho wineries fall into what one can see as 3 categories:

  1. Non-appelated wineries
  2. Appellation wineries (including Sub-Appellation wineries)
  3. Urban Wineries

Really, this only speaks to the location of the winery itself relative to the AVA boundaries.  It is not reflective of the wine they make being or not being appellate wines.

Non-appelated Wineries

Imagine you’re driving down a lonely highway in the middle of nowhere, California,  and you come across a roadside winery offering Napa appellate wines.  Hard to believe?  Yes, it is.  But not in Idaho.  In the northern reaches of the state, Highway 90 cuts through an area that is not an established AVA.  The wineries there might offer you an appellate wine from a vineyard site in the southwestern AVA of the state.  Not unheard of. And there are a few wineries off of Route 95 at the Highway 90 interchange.

Appellate and Sub-Appellate Wineries

There are 2 main AVAs in the state, and 1 sub-appellated AVA.  In the central northwest, there’s the Lewis-Clark AVA, home to just under 20 wineries. In the southwestern part of the state, there the much larger Snake River Valley AVA, home to over 60 wineries (and shared in its western part with Oregon).  The third AVA in the state is a sub-appellation of the Snake River Valley, known as the Eagle Foothills AVA, and is situated just north of Boise on the eastern edge of the Snake River Valley AVA, home to roughly 10 wineries.

Urban Wineries

As Boise falls within the Snake River Valley AVA, there is a current trend of “urban wineries” that can grow fruit in and around the sprawling Boise urban area, whereas “urban wineries” in say, Oakland or Berkeley, CA, will not offer fruit from the Oakland or Oakland Hills area, they will need to source from outside of the area, somewhere like the Santa Cruz Mountains, Lodi, Livermore, Sonoma, or Napa for example.  Pretty cool when you think about it.  Imagine getting a New York wine, grown in New York City at a New York City Restaurant from a local New York City winery – you can actually do that in Boise.

Pretty damn cool.

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