CANYON COUNTY -- As Idaho's wine industry continues to flourish, the state's best-known brands are seeing big growth and big changes.
Seattle-based Precept Wine owns both wineries and recently purchased 40 acres of apple orchard surrounding Ste Chapelle from the Symms family. With that, a long-term vision is becoming a reality.
"When we had the opportunity to purchase 40 acres that currently Ste Chapelle sits on, we wanted to jump on the opportunity to fulfill that master plan we had envisioned," Precept Wine Communications Manager, Chantelle Lusebrink, said.
In addition to building a state-of-the-art, 5,000-seat amphitheater, 20 acres of this newly acquired land at Ste Chapelle will be dedicated to estate vineyards. But the vital reason for the expansion is that Sawtooth Estate will be moving all operations to the property.
"Having two wineries at one location is always a good thing because people can hit two in one stop," Brenna Christison, with Idaho Wine Commission, told KTVB.
Sawtooth's winemaker Meredith Smith will now be at the helm for both.
"It will be so much easier on Meredith - since she's heading both of them - to be in one place," Christison added.
Sawtooth Winery's retail front and tasting room will be open through the 2016 harvest, but the production will be moving sooner than that.
"The deadline date for that will officially be August 10 but we've already made several preparations," Lusebrink told KTVB.
Precept Wine says once the production and tasting room for Sawtooth are moved to Ste Chapelle, the wineries will be able to educate tourists about the diversity of the region.
"We have warm days and cool nights and it's just perfect for growing grapes," Christison said. "Recently, Idaho is just taking off."
Three years ago, an economic impact study found that Idaho's wine boom had a $169 million impact on the state, the biggest exporters being Ste Chapelle and Sawtooth wineries.
"They're definitely not competitors. We definitely see them as two wineries that are leaders in the industry for Idaho, if not the broader Pacific Northwest region," Lusebrink said.
While all the wine-making will be happening at Idaho's largest winery, Precept wants to note that the wines will still be distinctively different, with Sawtooth continuing to use grapes from Skyline Vineyards and Sawtooth Estate.