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Women in Wine: Coiled Wines' Leslie Preston

After studying abroad in France and working in Napa Valley, Boise native Leslie Preston returned to her roots to continue her passion in wine.

GARDEN CITY, Idaho — June is Idaho Wine and Cider Month and in honor of it, KTVB is highlighting some of the local women in wine and raising a glass to them.

“Even though people have been at this for a long time in Idaho, it has an energy that it didn't have," Owner and Winemaker of Coiled Wines, Leslie Preston said.

Preston’s passion for wine started when she studied abroad in France, an area famously known for wine.

“I was very interested in the connection between local ingredients and the passion for food and wine, and the ritual of really sitting down and enjoying a meal,” Preston said. 

That experience uncorked her interest and led her down the grape-filled path of winemaking. She took part in a master’s program at UC Davis. Then worked in Napa Valley for several years and when she started a family, that's when Preston decided she wanted to return to her roots.

“I’m from Boise, my grandfather was a farmer, it just – I kept coming home and tasting these interesting wines and was really drawn to coming back home to make wine,” Preston said. 

Traditionally, winemakers have been men, but that's not the case here locally, with so many women in wine in Idaho. 

“I think as small as our industry is, it has been notable,” Preston said. “For me, it's funny that people think of winemakers as men because to me, it makes perfect sense that a winemaker would be a woman – we have a better sense of smell.”

She adds that mentality may stem from the traditional thinking that winemaking is a very physical job.

“It is a very physical job, but I can do it," Preston said. "I think also Idaho has a lot of small businesses still, thankfully, and I think there are a lot of husbands, wife teams, who owned businesses in the wine world together and that I think that's part of the story as well.”

She also shared her favorite part with KTVB:

“I really, really love just being alone in the cellar and working with the grapes and the wine. I don't have music on, it's just, it's sort of my sacred space, and I really love that time,” Preston said. “I recognize that a lot of people never get that experience of smelling a fermentation and watching it change and I really treasure that.” 

For a Boise native, making wine for other local wine lovers is the perfect pairing.

“A lot of our customers are also local, and that's, that's a treat. You know, you're making these wines for people, you know, as opposed to making them for people across the country or in a different country,” Preston said. “I'm just enjoying the ride.”

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