New winery tasting room opening its doors on Idaho's Sunnyslope

Sawtooth Winery's brand new tasting room is opening its doors right next to Ste. Chapelle, since their wine-making is now under one roof.

CANYON COUNTY -- There's a new spot on the Sunnyslope you'll want to check out: Sawtooth Winery's brand new tasting room is opening its doors right next to Ste. Chapelle, since their wine-making is now under one roof.

It's a move that's expected to continue to boost Idaho's fast-growing wine industry.

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KTVB spent the day exploring the property and got an exclusive sneak peak of the venue. The grand opening for the public is at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Sawtooth is pouring up new vibes in the heart of Idaho's Sunnyslope region, now neighboring Idaho's historic Ste. Chapelle Winery. A beautiful 2,200-square-foot building tasting room on Lowell Road in Caldwell is now dedicated to one of Idaho's oldest wineries.

MORE: Big changes coming to Snake River Valley Wine Region

"To have the two facilities with that history side by side in the Sunnyslope area is really special," Sawtooth and Ste. Chapelle wineries winemaker, Meredith Smith, said.

A vision in the works for years, with easier access, centrality, and convenience for visitors top of mind.

"Let's make this a destination venue where, again, we bring people out, we bring groups out and we want you to spend an hour or two or even a weekend here eventually," Sawtooth Winery tasting room manager and event coordinator, Kelli Geselle, said. "Now it gives them the ability to not just hit one or two wineries; they can hit Sawtooth and Ste. Chapelle. And then we can even send them down the road and hit up another winery or two."

Smith has been with Sawtooth since 2009 - making their wine since 2012 - and is now at the helm of of both Sawtooth and Ste. Chapelle. When Ste. Chapelle was bought by Sawtooth's owner, Seattle-based Precept Wine years ago, putting a winery within a winery was always the goal. They first moved production over to this property, and then the tasting room which is opening this week.

"We were kind of in our own little bubble out there so it's been fun to experience the official Sunnyslope wine trail and meet our neighbors," Geselle said.

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"There's a lot of collaboration between both the tasting rooms and the production," Smith added.

But the brands say even though operations are merging, their wines are still very distinct and Sawtooth will continue to source fruit from its vineyard in Nampa.

This is all happening as Idaho's burgeoning wine industry continues to blossom.

"The fruit of Idaho, the quality of it, the quality of winemaking has all increased," Smith said.

The growth is leading to more visibility, tourism, and, in Smith's words, the opportunity to catapult the Gem State into another level.

"With that comes we need more grapes, we need more production. It's huge and it's going to grow the hospitality industry as well," Geselle said.

Growth and moves like this with these two historic brands are building Idaho's reputation in the wine world and boosting our state's economy, experts say.