Last updated: 11:30 AM ET, Thu July 28 2016

Wineries in the Boise, ID Area: Thriving Under the Radar

Destination & Tourism | Melinda Crow | July 28, 2016

Wineries in the Boise, ID Area: Thriving Under the Radar

 Photo courtesy of the Idaho Wine Commission

Go ahead, re-read the headline. Boise? Seriously? Yes, seriously. And the wine isn't even made from potatoes.

I recently had the opportunity to sample some amazing wines from a region that I didn't even know existed. The wines ranged from delightfully dry Merlots and Syrahs to light and fruity whites, including my favorite Rhine wine: Riesling.  There are more than fifty wineries scattered across four regions of the state. In 2013, they collectively produced more than 200,000 cases of wine.

According to the Idaho Wine Commission, grapes for wine were first produced in the state in the 1860s, but 17 years of Prohibition shuttered the fledgling industry. It was not until the mid-1970s that grapes again were planted amid the microclimates tucked away in the scenic valleys and foothills of the Gem State.

READ MORE: Make Your Own Wine Aboard Holland America

In the Boise Metro area, there are eight wineries and vineyards to visit, with sixteen more inside a roughly thirty-five-mile range. Here's the Metro list to get you started:

Cinder Wines has an award-winning Syrah, but I personally loved the dry Viognier.

Coiled Wines is one of several Idaho wineries owned by female vintners. The tasting room is open seven days a week during the summer. Be sure to sample the dry Reisling.

Mouvance Winery is a small, family-run winery using Oregon-grown grapes to produce limited runs of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier in Boise. The tasting room is open Friday-Sunday.

Potter Wines is known for wine with a kick. The Jalapeno Wine may take you by surprise, and can be used for either cooking or for turning up the heat in a mixed beverage.

Snake River Winery features an extensive wine list. The Merlot was my personal favorite, but try several when you stop by its tasting room on Broad Street.

Split Rail Winery encourages you to shake off everything you think you know about wine in general, and Idaho wine in particular. These guys are actually putting wine in beer cans. You know you want to give it a try.

Syringa Winery In Garden City produces an interesting list of wines. I particularly enjoyed the Tempranillo.

Telaya Wine Co. is the 2016 Idaho Winery of the Year. Starting with Washington-grown grapes, it is now producing wines from grapes grown in Idaho. The current list includes Cabernets,  Syrahs, and a lovely Viognier. 

Boise as a Destination

Other than the wine, Boise has quite a bit to offer. It has energy, plenty of outdoor activity and is the ideal place to start your Idaho adventure. Hike the foothills at Military Reserve Park, try kayaking or stand up paddle boarding at Idaho River Sports, or enjoy locally-sourced Italian cuisine at Alavita.

READ MORE: Where Is the World’s Biggest Wine Festival?

Hotel options run the full gamut of chains, as well as a smattering of independents like the highly-acclaimed Grove Hotel. Beyond the city, consider a night at the B&B at Bitner Vineyards in nearby Caldwell. 

And if you need an occasional beer during your stay, Boise has you covered on that front as well. Check out the Boise Ale Trail, for a complete list of craft breweries.

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