No Matter the Season, the Sunnyslope Wine Trail “Wows” Visitors
Come savor the agricultural heritage of Caldwell, Idaho
All things considered, Caldwell Idaho could very well be one of the safest and most enjoyable places to visit. After all, the vast majority of attractions are outside, which makes social distancing quite easy. Widely known for its Sunnyslope Wine Trail, many of the wineries have adjusted to limit capacity and currently require tasting room reservations, resulting in patio seats and conversations with the vintners themselves.
When you think about wine from the Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington come to mind. However, Idaho was the first state to plant grapes in this region in 1865 and has been a burgeoning wine region since prohibition ended. The Sunnyslope is an ideal place for growing wine grapes because of its high desert climate and sandy soil which gives vintners an enormous degree of control over how much water the plants receive, helping craft the sweetness of the wine before the fruit is even harvested.
The latitude of the Sunnyslope is similar to France’s Bordeaux and Rhone regions. Likewise, many similar grape varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah & Viognier grow well here. Wine varietals made popular by Spain, Italy, and South America also grow well in the Sunnyslope because of its elevation and dry climate. In recent years, farmers have planted Sangiovese, Malbec, Carménère, Albariño, and Tempranillo.
Nestled in the scenic Snake River Valley, the Sunnyslope Wine Trail boasts 17 wineries and vineyards, award-winning wines and intimate tasting and dining experiences, all framed by panoramic views. Wineries also host farm-to-fork dinners in their vineyards during the summer, an al fresco experience that will be the pinnacle of your stay.
Caldwell, located just 30 minutes from the Boise Airport, offers incredible accommodations without sacrificing the scenery and the area’s rich agriculture heritage. Downtown Caldwell centers around Indian Creek Plaza, a public plaza with fountains and events during the warmer months. Mid-November through January, the plaza transforms into an ice-skating rink and becomes the center of a stunning, one-million holiday light display. And, the food scene mirrors the down-to-earth, homegrown feel of the wine trail. At Amano, a from-scratch Mexican restaurant, Chef Sal offers SoCal, Michoacan, and Oaxacan style Mexican food using local ingredients. They even grind the corn used to make tortillas in-house. For a more casual dinner, The Chop Shop BBQ offers local meats smoked to perfection and side dishes featuring ingredients sourced from local, sustainable farming.
Fall, harvest time, is an ideal season to visit. In addition to vistas of patchwork farmland and vineyards, you can actually experience the harvest for yourself on the AgVenture Trail, a farm loop. The AgVenture Trail includes farms, orchards, produce stands and other hands-on agricultural experiences like visiting a u-pick flower farm and touring a small family operated cattle ranch. Between wine tastings you can pick fresh produce, tend farm animals, or take a cheese-making class.
Looking to stay overnight or several days? Take your pick and stay in accommodations ranging from bed and breakfasts to boutique guest houses and hotels. Trinity Horse Ranch offers a rustic experience in log cabin next to Lake Lowell. Or, if you are looking for lush accommodations, stay in the Big Idaho Potato Hotel, a 6-ton potato structure converted into a luxury suite. All your options are located within 30 minutes of Caldwell’s countryside.
You’ll get a taste of the simple life on your trip to Caldwell, whether you love a glass of finely crafted wine or fresh, local flavors. So why hesitate? Caldwell’s wide open spaces are calling your name.
Paid for in part by a grant from Idaho Tourism.