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Late harvest season creating excitement in Idaho's wine industry

Idaho wine makers say they are expecting to develop wines with a myriad of flavors and styles this year.
Credit: Tyson White/KTVB
Idaho wineries are seeing a much better crop of grapes this year. (Photo: Tyson White/KTVB)

BOISE — It’s nearing the end of the harvest season for Idaho grape growers and wine makers who are excited about this year’s wine vintage.

They are expecting to develop robust wines with a myriad of flavors and styles.

The Idaho wine industry continues to grow in stature, receiving lots of recognition at an August wine competition from judges around the country. A total of 33 wines won gold medals recognizing their high quality and exceptional flavors.

PREVIOUS: Idaho wineries encouraged by this year's harvest

The long, slow ripening of fruits have brought a lot of excitement to Idaho’s wine industry in 2018.

"This is a later harvest than Idaho has seen in recent years," said Mike Williamson, grape grower at Williamson Orchards & Vineyards in the Sunny Slope Wine Region. "The long season demonstrates the diversity of the state's growing region. Idaho is unique with our myriad of varietals, flavors and styles of wine."

The grape harvest began across Idaho in mid-September and many are still picking grapes well into November.

Grapes are ripening at a more gradual pace than previous years. Growers attribute this to a long, hot summer, which caused vines to slow their water consumption and photosynthesis. This, combined with a warm fall and minimal rain helped grapes finish ripening at the start of harvest.

The longer harvest season indicates that wines made from the 2018 vintage will have well-developed flavors.

"It has been a great harvest," said Melissa Sanborn, owner of Colter's Creek Winery in Juliaetta, Idaho. "By this time last year we had pressed our last fermentations, but this year we aren't even finished picking."

"The yields from this harvest will transform into some delicious wines," said Idaho Wine Commission executive director, Moya Dolsby. "This is exciting as the state's wineries continue to gain national attention for our quality, award-winning varietals. But it's also a great benefit to the state since the production and sales of wines are such important parts of Idaho's economy."

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