The Rocky Mountain state of Idaho was the first undiscovered wine country of the Pacific Northwest, the new frontier of wineries. But it wasn't until recently that Idaho became a notable wine destination that is giving California a run for its money.
"An article dated September 5, 1865 in the Idaho Statesman reported that a vineyard of Royal Muscadine cuttings had been planted early in the spring of the previous year (1864) and it had survived the winter well and was beginning to produce grapes in Lewiston." (Idaho Wine Commission)
With these first grapes of the Pacific Northwest region planted, Idaho had taken its first steps toward success as a wine-making country until the 1919 prohibition period began. For many years, Idaho was considered the forgotten "other" wine state. Following this devastating era, Idaho vineyards and wineries found it difficult to pick themselves back up until after the 1970s. After prohibition was over, grapes and vineyards began to be planted in the Snake River Valley, making Idaho the wine destination it is today. Meanwhile, California was considered the premium wine-growing region of the nation, producing approximately 89% of the country's wines.
Located in elevated regions at 3,000 feet, the Idaho vineyards have enough natural resources to sustain their internationally recognized wineries and vineyards. This picturesque country has the perfect soil comprised of volcanic-ash; a warm climate consisting of long and warm daylight hours and cool summer evenings; well-drained soils; and a direct access to water. Altogether, this contributes to the production of quality wine grapes with concentrated fruit flavors and naturally high acidities.
Idaho usually brings to mind delicious potatoes grown in green fields, spread across sprawling landscapes against the majestic Teton Mountains. A state also known for skiing and snowboarding, winter tourists have over 20,000 skiable acres to enjoy. Additionally, the wineries of the Idaho Snake River Valley have now added a major impact to the state's economic growth, part of a major wine cooperation between the states of Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Over 43 wineries are located in the state of Idaho alone, located on 1,600 acres of vineyard acres. In 2008, over $73 million dollars contributed to Idaho's economy. (Business Wire)
The wineries and vineyards of Idaho and Colorado encompass the Rocky Mountain area. The United States is the fourth largest wine-producing country in the world---proceeded by France, Italy and Spain. Wine has been made in the United States for over 300 years, currently being developed in all fifty states with numerous native grown grapes. However, if it had not been for the early introduction of the European common grape vine, the wine industry would never have taken root.
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