Where am I now? Seems like I did a lot of driving but am still in Montana. Which in fact, I am. But not for long.
Today Now I will be off. To La Canada. Not La Cañada, that is in California. We (royally speaking) are heading to visit our neighbor to the north. Think maple leaves instead of surf boards.
I have been on the road so long at this poing that I have no idea what day it is or what I am supposed to look at. Oh, that is right. I am a wino. Is there wine along this route?
Well, totes (I say ‘totes’ instead of ‘totally’ just to irritate my teenagers). At the end of the road today I will be in Penticton home of the Wine Blogger’s Conference for 2013. So that means I will be driving through the rest of Montana, Idaho, Washington State and then British Columbia.
This is probably the winiest portion of my trip. With nearly 30 wineries along my route including:
Located in both Oregon and Idaho the Snake River Valley was previously best known by me as the location where Evel Kneivel jumped a canyon with a rocket* (or a strangely conceived steam powered motorcycle). My eight-year old self aside, the appellation was designated in 2007 after the Idaho Grape Growers and Wine Producers Commission submitted the petition which was granted due to unique qualities of the region.
And what are those qualities? Specifically, it is cooler, drier, at a higher elevation and with a shorter growing season than nearby appellations (Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, Oregon and Washington’s Walla Walla Valley and California’s Napa Valley (which seems to be a de rigueur comparison)). Unlike many appellations, the soils are varied but are underlain by the remains of ancient Lake Idaho which largely forms the border of the area.
Viticulture had begun in Idaho in the 1860s but it wasn’t until the 1970s that it took root in the Snake River Valley. From that time number of wineries and vineyards to grown to nearly thirty and is producing wines from a wide range of vinifera grapes including:
I have been to Idaho, though not near the AVA but I did stop and buy a from the appellation. The wine was a dry Riesling from Ste. Chapelle and I will be looking for more in the future as it was dry and crisp with a bright burst of fruit. Sadly, on my trip to Oregon this year for WBC12, I was no where near the Snake River Valley. Maybe next time.
Even though I am actually on my trip, I am still planning. After all, I still need to get through Idaho.
Now, for the purposes of my trip, my quest through Idaho will be quite short as I will be scooting across the panhandle on my way into Washington. There are two wineries in the area that I will hopefully be able to stop at:
As far as other things to do, well there are beautiful lakes in Coeur D’Alene and Pend D’Oreille. Also there is a gold mine museum in Kellogg. Ultimately, most of the things to do and see in Idaho are further south. Even the Snake River Canyon that was jumped by Evel Knievel in my youth (pronouned yoot) is further south. Sigh. Next time!
This year, I will once again, be driving out the Wine Blogger’s Conference. This year, the event will be held in beautiful Walla Walla, Washington. Naturally, I need to find places to stop along the way. No road trip is complete without a bite of the local color. So the key is to start planning now. I have two potential routes to adventure. I can either take the incredibly convenient to hop onto Interstate 90 which will lead me through Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington; OR the equally incredibly convenient to hop onto Interstate 94 which will lead me through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington.
Choices, choices. The common denominator is the ease with which I will be able to hit the road as from Chez Neuman it is a five minute drive to either Interstate. Talk about your Gateway to the West!
Now is the time, for me to figure out as much as I can to make an informed drive. So if you know a cool, geeky spot, I should stop, a nice, but reasonable place to stay for the night, the local fare that should be tried or a great winery along the way? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I use your suggestion a beautiful Locapour t-shirt could be yours!