Idaho's wine industry is only 30 years old but is growing rapidly and now boasts 52 wineries.
Today on Keepin' It Local, I want to take you to one of them. Their wines are finding fans throughout the country and especially in the Northwest.
As you come around the bend and down the hill of Sunny Slope you'll see at the bottom of the hill Fujishin Winery. And I want you to meet the Fujishins.
They do some magic with wine and I want you to meet them. This is Martin Fujishin, Theresa Fujishin and these folks have won the 2018 Idaho Wine of the Year from a prestigious publication. What is it, Martin?
“Yeah, Wine Press Northwest magazine out of Kennewick, Washington actually names a number of wineries around the Northwest as their wineries of the year and we were lucky enough to receive it this year,” replied Martin.
Well, the Idaho Wine Commission told me that it's a big deal, It really is a big deal, so congratulations for that. So what is the magic in Fujishin wine?
“You know we really like to think the magic is how we portray the Sunny Slope and the Snake River Valley. We make wine that we really feel like reflect the character of the region and give us an opportunity to show people around the country what this region is about and how those wines can actually reflect the history, the culture and the overall feel of Idaho and particularly the Snake River Valley.”
So what's happening in here?
“So this is actually a great example of some of the fun parts we get to do in the wine business. Today we've actually got a trial set up that we're going through with a group of the folks at the winery here to how we're going to put together our blend of our new Tempranillo.
Tempranillo's one of our signature wines and so we have an example here of... five different examples of different blends of that wine. We'll taste through them and actually put together what the finished blend will be, and for us, we try and reflect what that wine should be for our region and this is a great opportunity for us to how that wine shapes up as it comes through years of aging.”
So you kind of keep a scorecard and see which one's the favorite?
“We definitely do and it's kind of a group activity. Theresa, myself, Annie will actually taste through these wines and see which one we feel like is best reflective of what we've one in previous years and what we want the wine to be for this particular year.”
We always like to give people a little behind the scenes look. This is really behind the scenes.
“Yeah, this is definitely kind of behind the curtain back here.”
This is the production facility of Fujishin wines, so tell me about what happens here.
“So this is actually where we turn the wines into what you see in the glass on the table there. We're bringing in grapes from right out in the vineyards that surround us and as we bring those in we're actually fermenting into the finished wines you see, aging them here, getting them in barrel and then getting them back out on the bottle and out on people's tables.”
You know we talk about the art of making wine, you were telling me earlier it really hasn't changed all that much.
“Yeah, the technology we're working with has been around for thousands of years, and even the current day technology has been around for hundreds of years, and there's this great human tradition of making wines throughout our history and we're just trying to carry on that tradition of taking those wines that are from our area and turning them into wines that are of a quality of a global and a national level, but you know still having a little bit of that style that's specifically our own.”
I have much more with Martin Fujishin on my Facebook page, and if you'd like to try a bunch of Idaho wines in one place, mark your calendars for Savor Idaho. It's coming up June 10th at the Idaho Botanical Garden. I'll put the info for that on my Facebook page too.
And we'd love to hear about Idaho companies that you think should be featured on Keepin' It Local. If it's a local company doing a fantastic job by filling a niche or creating a new product and you think everyone should know about it, message me on Facebook.