Unveiling Idaho: A leader in the northwest’s wine heritage.

Wine Regions of Idaho

Idaho, distinguished as the site of one of the Northwest's earliest vineyards, blends scenic beauty, rich agricultural traditions, and a burgeoning viticulture scene, marking its emerging prominence in the American wine landscape.

Idaho's wine regions sit amongst breathtaking geography and untamed wilderness and these factors have heavily influenced the growing wine culture here. Let's learn where Idaho makes its best wines.

While the total vineyard area may be small today, we see potential for more with Idaho's 3 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), including two that extend beyond state lines.

Snake River Valley AVA

Home to 85% of the state’s vineyards, the Snake River Valley has a similar latitude as many famous regions such as Southern France, and Rioja, Spain. You’ll find excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah, and even Tempranillo here.

Eagle Foothills AVA

A sub-region of the Snake River Valley, Eagle Foothills is known for its Rhône varieties but also Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling. Its granite soils and higher rainfall set it apart from the Snake River Valley.

Lewis-Clark Valley AVA

This is where some of the first vines in the Northwest were planted. The vineyards are nestled in steep river canyons, with the lowest elevation in the state. It's distinguished by its lower elevation and milder climate, ideal for a variety of grape types, from Pinot Noir in cooler sites to Grenache in warmer spots.

Snake River Valley from Koenig Vineyards.

Getting a Lay of the Land

Idaho's terrain is defined by two major features:

  • The Rocky Mountains
  • High-altitude plateaus

The Rocky Mountains, covering the northern and central parts of the state, offer stunning landscapes but are generally not conducive to viticulture due to their cooler temperatures and rugged terrain.

On the western edge of Idaho, the Columbia Plateau extends into the state from Oregon and Washington, creating more favorable conditions for wine production. This region encompasses the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA around Lewiston, known for its warmer climate and deep river valleys.

The Snake River Plain, traversing southern Idaho, is home to most of the state’s viticulture and is where you’ll find the Snake River Valley and Eagle Foothills AVAs. Here, ancient volcanic lava flows combine with a high desert climate and the Snake River to create unique viticultural conditions, perfect for cultivating French, Spanish, and even German grape varieties.

Vines at Colter’s Creek Vineyard in Lewis-Clark Valley AVA.

How To Get There?

Flying into the capital, Boise, is convenient, with 1-2 hour flights from major hubs such as San Francisco, Denver, or Vancouver.

Visitors can then discover urban wineries in both Boise and Garden City alongside vineyards in the nearby AVAs of Snake River Valley and Eagle Foothills.

In Coeur d'Alene, enthusiasts can enjoy the local prosperous wine scene, while Lewiston, just two hours drive from the Walla Walla Valley wine region, offers access to the home of the Northwest’s original vine plantings, the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA.

Idaho Wine Region Facts
  • There are over 1,300 vineyard acres (525 hectares) of wine grapes.
  • Idaho has 3,100 miles (5,000 km) of rivers - more than any other state.
  • Snake River Valley AVA was the first AVA in Idaho, established in 2007.
  • The United States Forest Service owns almost 40% of Idaho's land, which is the highest proportion of any U.S. state.
  • Idaho has the deepest gorge (Hells Canyon) in the USA, deeper than the Grand Canyon.
  • Idaho is the 14th largest state in the US.