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Wine Industry Grows in Idaho. Wha? Idaho?

on 12/06/13 at 2:56 pm


indexIdaho’s wine industry is finally coming of age — and overcoming a haunting slight by none other than The Muppets.

June marks the fourth annual Idaho Wine Month. This year, it is making progress thanks to wineries, restaurants, retailers and wholesalers. That support comes all the way from the Capitol, as Gov. Butch Otter is even making appearances at stores to sign bottles of Idaho wine.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Moya Shatz Dolsby, executive director of the Idaho Wine Commission. “In 2002, there were 11 wineries.”

Today, the number of producers from Sandpoint to Twin Falls is 50.

The wine industry has faced daunting challenges through the years, not the least of which is the state’s religious and socially conservative residents.

“About 30 percent of the population doesn’t drink wine,” Dolsby said, “the majority of which are in eastern Idaho. We haven’t had a problem because they see the money behind it, and a lot of religious people buy wine as gifts for others.”