After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Idaho spent the remaining two-thirds of the 20th century slowly returning to significance as a winemaking state. Idaho's star is on the rise. Vintners here are excelling in particular with crisp, minerally Rieslings.
Idaho's wine grapes thrive in the Snake River Valley at high elevations along steep sun-soaked slopes in poor volcanic soils. At this latitude and climate, days during the growing season are long and languorous, warm and sunny, and nights are clear and chilly; it's a combination that helps build concentrated fruit flavors and good natural acidity. Grapes that do well here include Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lemberger, Chardonnay and Zinfandel.
A special congratulations to Idaho. In March 2007, the Snake River Valley was designated an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in official recognition of the valley's unique growing conditions. It's the first such distinction granted to a wine-growing area in Idaho.