Aside from the few established AVAs in the state, it’s important to think of Idaho wines under the guise of “regions” – geographical areas outside of the standard AVA lines we think of wine as conforming to in areas like California, Oregon, and Washington.
It’s a relatively new wine state, and it’s a largely untapped land. Essentially you’re dealing with Napa and Sonoma before Napa & Sonoma as we know them today were established. Again, frontier blazing winemakers, young and old, looking for new expressions of terroir from untapped soils and microclimates.
There are 4 regions to think about currently regarding the wines of Idaho:
- Northern Wine Region
- South Central Wine Region
- Southwestern Wine Region
- Southwestern Urban Wine Region
Northern Wine Region
Stretching south to north through the western side of Idaho’s panhandle region, the Northern Wine Region encompasses the Lewis-Clark AVA in its southern area, and stretches up past the 90 & 95 junction, where wineries can be found outside the standard AVA delineations. Within the Lewis-Clark AVA, the landscape is defined by steep canyons of the Clearwater, mid-Snake River, and their associated tributaries.
South Central Wine Region
The wineries in this region are situated in the Snake River Valley AVA, and geographically located just south and outside of Boise, allowing for easy travel and tasting on a day trip. This region is marked by hot days and cool nights, locking in excellent acidity to the perfectly ripened grapes; a defining feature of the wines of this region.
Southwestern Wine Region
4-seasons, ancient volcanic soils, abundant water supply…sounds like the perfect place to grow grapes, right? It is! Also situated in the Snake River Valley AVA, the Southwestern Wine Region has the states heaviest concentration of wineries (no surprise) in the “Sunnyslope Wine Trail.”
Southwestern Urban Wine Region
Imagine going to a beautiful urban area that is surrounded by accessible natural wonders, all equipped with world-class food, arts, and culture. You’d find yourself in a place much like Boise. A rare blend of natural wonders, urban living, locally grown and produced wine culture, and an opportunity to taste samples of what the state, as a whole, has to offer. Sounds wonderful to us!