Idaho Wine Country Pt. 2

Reported by: Melissa Hackney
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Updated: 11/22/2013 10:35 am

For decades, people have known Idaho is a great place to grow grapes and with the plants being the most important part in making wine, there are many factors that come into play to make sure they grow properly.

"It has a good climate because you want hot, hot days and cooler nights so the desert climate provides good heat content," explained Beth Ringert at Cold Springs Winery in Hammett. 

The grapes also need a good source of water so wineries have cropped up around the Snake River and Idaho’s change in weather actually helps in the growing process.   

"Having seasons allows the grapes to become dormant and build up again for the following year,” said Ringert. 

Also it's important to find land with good soil because it adds character and structure to the wines.  

"As time has gone on and the roots have become deeper all of our wines have a certain minerality running through them because of the soil they are planted in," said Ringert. 

After all of those factors are considered and the grapes are planted, it takes about 3-5 years until they are mature enough to be harvested.

"During harvest this doesn't look nice and calm- the grapes are being dumped after they are picked, go through a crusher and then we have barrels to crush down the grapes," explained Ringert.

Once all the grapes are harvested, yeast is added to them in either steel tanks or oak barrels and the storing process begins.

"The reason we are using the steel tanks as opposed to the oak barrels, mainly for the whites, is because the oak would mask the flavor of the white wine,” said Ringert.  “They are usually much more delicate in flavor whereas the reds are a much bigger grape, meaning a bigger flavor of grape, which can handle being aged in oak and actually is an additive to the wine."

The storing time varies by the grape, but usually the white wines are bottled within a year and depending on how the reds are doing they will go longer.   

When the wine is finished and bottled the work doesn't end there.  Wineries know that there is competition especially when their bottle of wine is next to hundreds of others in the store. 

"If I don't know that much about it I'm going to the label.  If there are 14 cabs sitting there what label is going to be interesting to me."

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