“I spent the summer of 2006 exploring the vineyards of Idaho, looking at the growing conditions and meeting the farmers. I wanted to assess the quality and potential of the growing region before I started a winery here. I always suspected the region had good vineyard land and some of the wineries here were already producing some delicious wines, but I was genuinely surprised at how excited I got as I started looking at the soils, microclimates, and slopes the vineyards were on. The small amount of Syrah I made in 2006 confirmed it for me, we can make fantastic wine here.“
—Melanie Krause, Winemaker
We source our grapes from several vineyards in the Snake River Valley, constantly searching out new climates, sites and passionate people who are investing in new vineyards for this beautiful region. After meeting with great success and seeing the relationships with our growers strengthen over the years, we strongly believe that even though we can make incredible wines from this region right now “the best is yet to come”. We have an huge AVA, interesting volcanic soils, a great climate for Viognier, Tempranillo and Syrah (among others) and certainly much more to continue to learn from our wines, growers and the environment. It is a beautiful adventure!
The Williamson Family has had fruit orchards in the “Sunny Slope” region of the Snake River Valley for over 100 years. This beautiful vineyard backed by white chalk hills and with a view of the Snake River, brings us some wonderful grapes. They are known across the valley for their peaches and their very popular fruit stand, and they are now in the wine business as growers and producers. We purchase Viognier, Syrah and Cabernet from this vineyard. The Viognier is fruity and soft on the finish while the Syrah and Cabernet provide a lot of backbone for my blends.
This vineyard has brilliant soil and slope for achieving a self-controlled crop. Since these soils are low in organic matter and on a fairly steep slope, that doesn’t hold any water, the vines produce a small crop and balanced canopy without a lot of human interference. With yields between 2 and 3 tons per acre and plenty of heat, this vineyard is the earliest maturing in Idaho. A large component of my Syrah and Viognier blends come from this vineyard. The Syrah has intense flavors and a super soft finish while the Viognier lends a lot of viscosity to the blend. This vineyard should put at ease anyone who has wondered if Idaho is warm enough to grow high quality wine grapes. The harvest has consistently started between the last week of August and first week of September, on par with the warmest sites in Washington State.
Just down the hill from Sawtooth Vineyard and owned by the same company, Skyline Vineyard is the biggest in the state. With slightly deeper and finer soils than Sawtooth, this vineyard produces a larger crop and requires a little more work to produce small yields and balanced canopy. The Syrah and Merlot I received off of the vineyards produce highly aromatic wines with fresh fruit flavors and soft finishes. The Owyhee’s look close enough to touch from this vineyard and their stark, craggy peaks are a little spooky.
Rocky Fence Vineyard
Nestled at the base of the large foothills alongside the Payette River in Emmett, this vineyards has heat, a nice slope for air drainage, and the climate moderating influence of a river, which is just what I like in a vineyard site. The owner, Mike Medes, is growing his vineyard organically and though he grows mostly table grapes he’s been planting Viognier and Tempranillo for me since 2007. The vineyard produces Viogniers of elegance, with intense peach and pear aromas and a great balance of heavy texture and lively acidity on the finish. The Rocky Fence Tempranillo vines are developing nicely and displayed earthy tobacco leaf aromas and a rich texture in our 2008 Tempranillo debut bottling.
Arena Valley Vineyard
Located near Parma, an hour west of Boise, the name says it all with this vineyard. Arena, meaning “sand” in Spanish, is the soil composition. The steep slopes of the vineyard, combined with the sandy soils make these vines struggle to survive. The 20+ year-old vines provide the backbone of my Chardonnay. The low harvest yields create wines that have plush texture and my early picking dates (usually early September) leave the wines with enough acid for a long, refreshing finish.
Located just south of the Snake River on steep, west-facing slopes, this vineyard is intensely hot. Dar Symm’s great grandfather started planting fruit trees in 1914 with the help of Dar’s grandfather who was 14 years old at the time. They continue to manage their orchards in the Snake River Valley and still have 4 of the original trees left. The Symms family started planting wine grapes in 1971 and put in the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard that we work with in 1988. Some of the oldest Cabernet vines in the state develop into dense wines, contributing backbone to my Cabernet-Merlot blends. The Symms family has a knack for choosing great orchard and vineyard sites attested to by the age and durability of this vineyard.
Martin Brothers Vineyard
Currently the only Oregon vineyard I source from, Martin Brothers Vineyard, lays in the Oregon part of the Snake River Valley a stone’s throw from the river. The vineyard is on a steep east-facing slope with a dramatic backdrop of cliffs carved by the historic Bonneville flood. Sandy loam soils aid the grower in keeping the vigorous Tempranillo vines under control and producing elegant, layered wines. Vineyard owner Tim Martin is fascinated with Spanish varietals and we believe he has a wonderful piece of earth to help us continue this love affair.