Wines

Idaho’s vineyards throughout this Rocky Mountain state feature over 20 grape varieties, from elegant Rieslings to bold Bordeaux Blends, and more.

Idaho is rapidly making its mark as one of the fastest growing wine regions in the United States, with its unique high desert plains and a climate that mirrors some of the world's best wine-producing areas.

The state's diverse terroir, characterized by volcanic soil, cold winters, and sun-drenched summers, offers an ideal backdrop for over 20 different grape varieties.

Riesling

Riesling, a cold-hardy variety, is the most planted grape in Idaho and thrives here due to the state's cold winter climate.

Idaho's Rieslings benefit from the contrast between warm days and cool nights, allowing them to mature while maintaining their natural acidity. This climate results in aromatic wines with flavors ranging from crisp apple to sweet peach, with a minerality that reflects the volcanic soil of the region.

You’ll find both dry and sweet styles and, thanks to the cold winters, you’ll even find examples of Ice Wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon

As part of Idaho's nod to Bordeaux traditions, Cabernet Sauvignon stands out for its robust character and depth. Blending is common, with local winemakers often combining Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and Cabernet Franc to produce complex Bordeaux-style wines.

These wines typically showcase ripe berry flavors, enhanced by Idaho's ample sunshine. The cool nights here ensure the wines are fresh and have a slightly herbal edge, echoing their Bordeaux heritage.

Syrah

Syrah finds a special niche in Idaho's wine scene and is the second most planted red grape after Merlot. Thanks to the state's arid conditions and temperature variations, similar to its native Rhône Valley, Syrah thrives here.

Syrah’s drought tolerance is a perfect match for Idaho's climate, leading to the production of rich, powerful, deeply colored wines. Idaho Syrah is known for its dark fruit flavors, peppery undertones, and smooth tannins, contributing to the state's reputation for producing bold and expressive reds.

Merlot

Merlot, the most planted red grape variety in Idaho, benefits from the state's ideal growing conditions, producing wines that are both elegant and approachable.

The versatility of Merlot allows Idaho winemakers to create a range of styles from soft and fruity to more structured and complex, often blended with other Bordeaux varieties to add body and smoothness. The result is a portfolio of Merlot wines that truly reflect the diversity of Idaho's winegrowing regions.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay, ever the chameleon grape, creates many different styles in Idaho, ranging from unoaked, mineral-driven styles to richer, barrel-fermented wines.

The grape's adaptability to Idaho's varying climates results in a wide array of flavor profiles, from citrus driven to tropical fruit. Whether crisp and refreshing or creamy and layered, Idaho's Chardonnays will always have a crisp vein of acidity which sets them apart from Californian Chardonnays, thanks to the cold nights here.

Tempranillo and Beyond

While Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Chardonnay dominate, Idaho's wine landscape is enriched by a variety of other grapes. Tempranillo, for example, is gaining ground, reflecting the influence of Idaho's substantial Basque community.

Tempranillo, along with others like Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Malbec are all being experimented with. Many of these grapes are perfectly suited to Idaho's high desert conditions, echoing the arid climates of Ribera del Duero, the Rhône Valley, and Argentina.


Idaho Wine Facts
  • Riesling is the most planted grape variety.
  • Merlot is the most planted red grape variety.
  • There are 1,600 vineyard acres (650 hectares) in Idaho.
  • There are more than 20 different varieties planted in Idaho.

Explore the wines of Idaho directly from the producers.
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