Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Potatoes, Gems and Wine

Idaho - it’s known for potatoes, the mining industry, forests and some great skiing, but now one Northwest company is working to add wine to the gem state’s list of great attractions.

I came across this story done by KNIN, Fox 9 - Boise, on Twitter and thought it was worth sharing.

The next big thing: Wines made in Idaho?

A Washington-based wine company believes wines made in Idaho could be the next big thing. Precept Wine Brand bought Ste. Chapelle Winery in Caldwell, in hopes to grow the business.

“This big company in Washington has the faith in Idaho to purchase not one but two wineries, and they have in-house PR people that can help us get the word out about the Idaho wine industry,” said Moya Dolsby, Idaho Wine Commission Executive Director.

Precept is the largest privately-held wine company in the Northwest and also owns the Sawtooth Estate Winery in Nampa.  The company hopes to bring more exposure to Idaho wines.

“How do we evolve the packaging, and how do we evolve the message of Ste. Chapelle? We can make it out not just to the consumer base, but people out there who may not have heard of Ste. Chapelle before,” said Precept CEO and Owner Andrew Browne.

Ste. Chapelle’s potential also stems from its $8 to $15 price point, a marketable price range that doesn't scare consumers away.  

Employees at Ste. Chapelle said they hope to make wine-tasting a bigger part of the Idaho lifestyle, and they will continue to hold their Sunday concerts.

“Existing wines will probably not change very much.  A couple will be discontinued and some new skews will be brought in,” said Ste. Chapelle Winemaker Maurine Johnson.

The Precept owner said people can look forward to Ste. Chapelle's new wines and packaging, next year in the spring season.

“In 2013, as we start growing out the white wines first and red wines following that, you're going to see a difference in what's coming into that bottle,” said Browne.

There used to be 32 wineries here in Idaho in 2008. Now, there are 49 wineries.  It’s a growing business in our state, despite the recession.  

Ste. Chapelle Winery produces around 130,000 cases of wine each year.  The new owners hope to eventually increase that number in the coming years.

Precept Wine was founded in 2003.  With the addition of the two Idaho wineries the company now owns eight wineries and more than 3,000 acres of vineyards in the region.


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