“The award-winning wine valley you’ve never heard of.” — Travel + Leisure Magazine
Within the last few years, wine critics and travel writers all across the US have been discovering the award-winning wineries of Idaho’s Snake River Valley, quickly earning the region its title as the next must-visit wine destination.
Winemaking in the Snake River Valley has a rich heritage that extends back generations. Whether they’re self-made or the forerunner of a family business, Southwest Idaho’s winemakers are dedicated and passionate about perfecting their craft.
Here, you’ll find wineries that are unpretentious, down-to-Earth and welcoming visitors to “come as they are” — despite all the worldwide acclaim.
Ready for a taste? Here are 10 to get you started.
Indian Creek Winery
The award-winning wine valley you’ve never heard of. — Travel + Leisure Magazine
Just 30 minutes from Boise, you’ll find a homegrown winery surrounded by a lush garden full of dahlias, butterflies and summertime fun. Since 1982, Indian Creek Winery has been owned and operated by the Stowe family, who firmly believe in the motto “Work hard, play hard.” Here, you can taste a range of handcrafted wines from sweet White Rieslings to rich Pinot Noirs.
Locals’ Tip: Be on the lookout for fun events each year — especially the Wino Lympics obstacle course and Vinoyasa Yoga.
Telaya Wine Co.
Tasting wine on a patio along the Boise River at Telaya.
Sip regionally-sourced wines from Telaya’s shaded patio as you look out at the Boise River. Located just off the Greenbelt in Garden City, this family-owned winery is just a few minutes drive (or an easy bike ride!) from Downtown Boise. In 2016, Telaya went from Wine Press NW’s 2015 Winery to Watch to the 2016 Idaho Winery of the year!
Hat Ranch Winery
Inspecting the vineyards at Hat Ranch Winery.
Hat Ranch Winery is in the heart of the Snake River Valley, surrounded by country roads and patchwork farmland. Winemakers Tim and Helen Harless here aren’t afraid to forge new territory when it comes to winemaking, drawing their inspiration from the pioneers who settled this area over 100 years ago.
Locals’ Tip: Try the Malbecs and Temperanillos. Trust us.
Tasting Chicken Dinner Rosé at Huston Vineyards
Situated just off Chicken Dinner Road along the Sunnyslope Wine Trail, Huston Vineyards is owned by Gregg and Mary Algers, who are involved in everything about the winemaking process (including running the tasting barn!). They love to talk about their passion for wine and the valley with anyone who walks through the door.
Locals’ Tip: Huston’s Chicken Dinner wines are named after a quirky local legend involving a great chicken dinner, an Idaho mayor and run-down country road — Just ask Gregg and Mary!
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Visit Boise Like a Local
Wine tasting in Downtown Boise at Coiled’s wine bar.
Coiled is named in honor of the Snake River and the way it winds through the Southwest Idaho, creating fertile soil and lush vineyards ideal for winemaking. From the winery’s Downtown Boise wine bar or their chic tasting room in Garden City, you’ll taste wines produced from fresh grapes picked right from the valley, bursting with local flavor.
Fresh, inventive wines on tap at Split Rail.
Jed and Laura Glavin founded Split Rail for “the new generation of drinker.” Along with putting their wines in aluminum cans, the two love to experiment with different techniques to craft whimsical new blends. Try their Horned Beast Cerunnos. Named after a horned deer god in Celtic mythology, this wine is an award-winning blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre (and it’s got a pretty epic label).
Touring nearby vineyards with Ste. Chappelle’s tasting room in the distance.
Named after a European cathedral, Ste. Chappelle winery looks like it came straight from the French countryside. From the vaulted gothic windows in their tasting room, you can look out into the sweeping views of the valley below and taste wines that have gained national and international acclaim. Classy indeed.
Wine tasting in Cinder’s artsy tasting room.
Under the surface of Idaho’s Snake River Valley lies cinder left from ancient volcanoes. It’s this leftover cinder that makes the soil so ideal for growing grapes — and it’s also what inspired the name for Cinder Wines. From their urban tasting room in the center of Garden City’s artsy, up-and-coming District 44, you’ll taste wines made from grapes grown all over the valley.
Award-winning wines on display at Koenig
Koenig’s winemakers chase perfection when it comes to wine. Inspired by centuries-old winemaking traditions, they locally source their grapes from sustainable vineyards in the region, hand-selecting from the microclimates that produce exceptional grapes. From Koenig’s covered patio overlooking the vineyards below, you’ll taste varietal wines that were made from decades of perfecting the craft.
Locals’ Tip: After some wine tasting, challenge yourself to a friendly competition with Koenig’s giant chess set on their lawn.
Playing chess on Koenig’s lawn
Wine tasting with a view at Scoria
At just 20 years old and finishing her college degree, Sydney Nederend turned her family’s long-standing land into a vineyard just a handful of years ago. Today, she’s a self-made winemaker who is shaking up the industry. Her modest 18-acre vineyard produces malbecs, petit verdots, rosés, cabernet sauvignons and bordeaux style blends, which can all be tasted in Scoria’s chic tasting room overlooking the Owyhee mountains.
The best part of exploring Boise’s wine scene? The freedom to come as you are.
Here, you don’t need to be a wine expert or know exactly what you want. Just be ready to explore and leave everything else behind as you try something new.