More often associated with potatoes than grapes, Idaho has a long history of viticulture. In fact, the first vineyards in the Pacific Northwest were planted here in the 1870s. By the turn of the century, Idaho was known nationally as a producer of fine wines. After Prohibition destroyed viticulture in America, grapes were commercially reintroduced to Idaho in the 1970s, mostly in the Snake River Valley where the latitude is on a par with the South of France. Idaho has cold winters, but a moderate growing season, with a combination of cold nights and warm days. Also, the Snake River area has an extended fall that enables the grapes to mature fully.
Grape varieties planted in Idaho range from Riesling, Lemberger and Pinot Noir, to Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Zinfandel - all in just over 2000 acres of vines. Idaho has the potential to be a viticultural star.
In the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Georgia vineyards are small and few, yet the establishment of the Upper Hiwassee Highlands could bring much more.
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