GARDEN CITY, Idaho — Idaho’s $200 million wine industry is struggling during COVID-19, and local wineries are finding innovative ways to keep sales going.
The Idaho Press reports that with changes to farmers markets, weddings and other outdoor spring and summer events, wineries are relying on individual sales and wine club memberships to get by during the outbreak.
Telaya Wine Company in Garden City typically uses the spring and summer months to hosts several big events and event series. Those have been canceled.
“That is $20,000 to $30,000 a month in events that we can’t do now,” said Earl Sullivan, owner and winemaker at Telaya Wine Company.
When I shared that Riley and I were heading out of town to visit Idaho for a long weekend, nearly every single person (there were about 5-6, give or take) said something along the lines of, ‘Idaho? What’s in Idaho?’ It turns out a lot, actually.
Maybe it’s just the fact that I am from the Midwest and ‘west’ to me only equals Seattle or California – but I just have to start this guide by saying Idaho is downright incredible. Fun fact – it is home to over 130 soak-able hot springs (eat your heart out, Iceland!) PLUS wide open spaces… and oh yeah, mountains too. Whether you’re in the mood for some outdoor recreation, tasting the best of the region through unique chef’s preparations or catching up on some culture, wine tasting and nightlife in Boise, you should visit Idaho and consider it a hidden gem for a weekend getaway.
Husband and wife duo Earl and Carrie Sullivan named Telaya Winery for their two favorite places – the Tetons and the beaches of Mexico (playa(s)). Both coming from the medical/science fields (Carrie has her masters in molecular genetics and doctorate in veterinary medicine and Earl used to be the COO of a global pharmaceutical company and is a biochemist, no big deal), the two have found joy in the intellectual stimulation of wine. They wanted something that would teach work ethics and something they could do together.
They specialize in predominantly red (also some white) European styles of wine – wine that is intended to be aged – and bring in grapes from 5 vineyards in Idaho and 3 in Washington. And they use exclusively French Oak barrels for aging (which FYI, is very expensive and very precise, compared to the more cost-effective steel tanks). Out of all the wineries I’ve ever been to, I have never learned so much about the barrel making (cooperage), storing or aging process as I did at Telaya Winery. It was FASCINATING. And yes, you can join the wine club and get wine shipped to you (depending on where you live)
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