EMAIL melanie@cinderwines.com
PHONE 208.376.4023


Gardens, Cooking and Downhill Skiing

Growing up in Boise, Idaho I spent most of my time in the garden, the kitchen or up on the ski hill. My parents, Gary and Liddy, have a huge garden that I worked on with my brothers, Rory and Kelsey. Then we’d take all those lovely ingredients and under the guidance of my mother cook and preserve most of our food.  I fell in love with cooking using this huge variety of homegrown (and organic!) ingredients from our garden.  The garden also included a collection of 40+ varieties of grapes!  If I wasn’t in the garden or the kitchen then I was hurtling down the ski hills of the Northwest, as a member of the Bogus Basin Ski racing team. I still love to ski…although I’ve even gone over to the “dark side” and snowboard with my husband…but my parents still love me.

Talking to the Plants

I attended Washington State University and since I loved plants I started working in wheat genetics and breeding. Besides taking classes and talking to the plants in the greenhouse, I cycled for our school team, raced in triathlons and one day I met this rugby player named Joe, who I later married… I graduated from WSU in 2000 with bachelor degrees in Biology and Spanish.

Farmer’s Tan

After some travels in Asia, I returned to the Northwest and landed a job working for Stimson Lane in Washington as a vineyard technician in 2001. This translates into riding an ATV for 10 hours a day looking for bugs, checking on irrigation, and getting a tremendously sexy farmer’s tan. I enjoyed it immensely and learned a lot from the people I worked with who are incredibly knowledgeable in viticulture. This is important because great winemaking starts in the vineyard…

The Apprentice

During this time I started making “homemade” wine, which wasn’t very homemade since I made it with advice from Chateau Ste. Michelle and Northstar winemakers. I also began reading the books required for the UC Davis curriculum and thought winemaking would be a great fit for my interests. Eventually I got a job as an enologist at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate Winery. I was promoted to Assistant Winemaker in 2003. I helped make 400,000 cases of wine each year for Chateau Ste. Michelle. I studied under three great winemakers: Bob Bertheau, Ron Bunnell and Kendall Mix.

Taking the Plunge!

In 2006 I married Joe and moved back to Boise where he worked at Micron as a Chemist. I started a winery consulting business, Krause Consulting, LLC. This enabled me to visit the vineyards and taste through the cellars of most of the producers in Idaho. I made a small amount of Syrah and Viognier in 2006. Based on what I had seen of the vineyards and the wine I made in 2006, I decided to start my own brand, called Cinder, after the layers of volcanic remnants found under the vineyards in Idaho. It has meant a lot of hard work but when I taste the wines I know that it was the right decision.

“Welcome to the Garden”…

In 2008 we were searching for a home of our own to make wine when we came across an old fruit & vegetable packing warehouse in the industrial area of Garden City, just a few minutes from Boise.  The building had a few cold rooms available for lease and instantly I knew the building had potential. We signed the lease and found a couple new wine labels to share space with us for the first couple years.  It was a huge success and over the years we took over more and more of the building while our former cooperative wineries moved on to their own locations.  We fell in love with the tiny and tough town of Garden City, “nestled by the river” and love the central location we have here in the Treasure Valley.  Joe & I were ecstatic, we had a home for our wines five minutes from downtown Boise, a few blocks away from the Boise River and only ten minutes from our little home in East Boise.  It was time to put down roots.

Fast forward to February 2016.  After 8 years of sharing our winery space with other wineries (Vale, Syringa, Coiled & Telaya) we are finally the owners of our own space!  It has been great to see the other wineries that were our subtenants grow and strike out on their own and I know they’ll do well!  Come down to our newly remodeled tasting room, take a look at our space and please take a sip of the story we’ve captured in the bottle!

What is your favorite part of working in the Idaho wine industry?

Living in a beautiful state while making, eating, and drinking beautiful products.

What wine would you bring with you to a desert island?

Depends on how hot the island is. Maybe Viognier if I had a refrigerator… but otherwise, Syrah.

What is your favorite varietal or type of wine?

Too much deliciousness to choose from…

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Flying.  Snowboarding on a powder day is my current substitute.

What is your theme song?

“Short Shirt/Long Jacket” by Cake

In a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice?

Grenade Launcher

What is your favorite book?

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared M. Diamond
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

What is the thing you love most about Boise?

The chillaxed, friendly vibe.