Wine

© 2009 Idaho Department of Commerce-Tourism Division/Chad Case

The Idaho wine industry has enjoyed explosive growth in recent years with more than 50 vineyards operating in the Snake River Valley alone. On Tuesday's Idaho Matters, we speak with the Idaho Wine Commission about the market forces motivating this growth.

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Summertime means summer wines and City Center Wines sommelier Joseph DiGrigoli joins us to talk about the best wines to pair with BBQ or that freshly-caught trout and which Idaho wines make the best party cocktails.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Winemakers are hyper-focused when it comes to the environmental factors that influence the way their product is made. Soil, climate and location all affect wine grapes. Now, there’s evidence that wildfire smoke alters the way a wine tastes – regardless of the flavor of the grapes at harvest.

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If you thought last January was rough, just imagine being a vineyard owner in the Snake River Valley.

Idaho Wine Commission

Idaho wine growers have good reason to say "cheers" these days. According to research from Stonebridge Research Group, the number of wine cases bottled in 2013 increased 76 percent from the previous year. In 2013, Idaho vintners produced 234,000 cases in 2013 up from 179,000 in 2012. The Idaho Wine Commission paid for the study.

The number of Idaho wineries has also grown. In 2002 there were 11 wineries in the state, now there are 51.

For the Northwest wine industry this is crunch time. A massive rail and trucking facility in southeast Washington is pushing its final shipments out to arrive on store shelves before the New Year.

Wine harvest is underway in a small growing region in southeast Washington called Red Mountain. The dusty wedge of earth has been attracting an increasing amount of investment from winemakers from Napa, Canada and even Italy.

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Just in time for the holiday weekend, the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed Idaho's love of beer.

New data show a national surge in breweries between 2007-2012, with the number more than doubling from 398 to 869. New jobs were created in the industry despite the Great Recession, and shipments of the cold brews climbed more than 33 percent in the five-year span.

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The executive director of the Idaho Wine Commission says the state is getting national attention for its wines.

Moya Dolsby credits a $400,000 annual budget funded through the state liquor tax and wine industry assessment as well as enthusiastic supporters.

Dolsby tells the Lewiston Tribune that she no longer has to beg restaurants and retailers to try Idaho wines.

The state's wine industry has grown from a single commercial winery in 1976 to 50 today.

Many of the distinct wine grape growing regions in the Northwest are celebrating 30 years since the federal government recognized them as appellations -- or distinct growing areas.

The Northwest wine industry has matured to the point where certain regions are trying to set their wines apart -- think the Willamette Valley pinots, or Columbia Valley cabs.

The Northwest wine industry has grown tremendously over the last few decades. That’s had a big economic impact but has also changed the region’s landscape.

Northwest wine grape growers expect this week's cold weather to do some damage to their vineyards. But it’s not clear yet how much of next year’s fruit might be affected.

Early crop reports from farmers say Washington and Oregon’s wine grape harvest appears to be up a tick for 2013.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The Northwest is well positioned to make wine into the future despite global climate change. So says a scientist who presented his findings on climate change and wine at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. Monday.

Wine grape vines can be productive for decades. But how will climate change affect that? That’s the question Antonio Busalacchi, with the University of Maryland, sought to answer. He analyzed climate data for 24 prime wine growing regions throughout the world.

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