June might be Idaho Wine Month, but November turns out to be Visit Your Favorite Idaho Winery Month. There are great choices at the Treasure Valley’s “urban” wineries and plenty going on out West along the Sunnyslope Wine Trail and beyond.
I prefer and recommend spending some of the coming weekends heading out to snack, graze and sip through the month, especially on the long Thanksgiving Day weekend when so many of the Idaho wineries play host. Besides the experience itself, it’s a chance to choose wines to pair with upcoming holiday parties.
November is a great time to drop in on wineries because — with the possible exception of ice wine production — the harvest is mostly complete and the vintners are ready to visit, sip along and share the fruits of their labor with friends and customers.
I’ve pored over some of the November events and highlighted a few to get you going. The days following Thanksgiving Day — Nov. 25-27 — are when most of the action takes place, and most of the action includes variations of barrel tastings. That’s when a vintner or tasting room staff member dips a wine thief into a barrel and siphons off a taste — probably a 2014 or a 2015 vintage that will be bottled next year:
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Split Rail Winery, Syringa Winery
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 25 and 26, 4338 Chinden Blvd., Garden City
Winemakers will be on hand while you sample wines from Split Rail’s concrete tank and offer barrel sips from Syringa. Entrance includes a GoVino glass and there will be food trucks and music. $10 general, $5 members.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Nov. 25 and 26, 107 East 44th St., Garden City
Festivities include: Barrel samples from the cellar, tastings in the tasting room, seminars from the winemakers — and a commemorative Schott-Zwiesel wine glass, food truck all day, holiday deals and drink specials, Double Magnum of Reserve Tempranillo to be raffled each day (proceeds go to the Ada County Boys and Girls Club). $15 general, $5 members.
Telaya and Coiled
Noon to 6 p.m., Nov. 25-27, 240 E. 32nd. St., Garden City
Barrel tasting the first two days followed by a food truck and live music on the third day.
Out West, Sunnyslope
11 to 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, 13750 Surrey Lane, Nampa,
Beginning Friday and through Sunday, Sawtooth Winery hosts its annual Early Bird Cellar Sale. This is a good opportunity to sip some things and make purchases at 30- to 50-percent off selected wines. I had a chance to sample the 2013 Classic Fly Grenache earlier this year and I would recommend having some of this on hand for Thanksgiving. Sawtooth will be hosting barrel tastings of the 2015 vintages and tours 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 25 and 26, plus music. $10 general, $5 members.
Noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 18-25 (closed Thanksgiving), 16645 Plum Road, Caldwell
Celebrate with wine, food, and incredible colors of autumn with great views. $5.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 25-27, 15343 Plum Road, Caldwell.
Black Friday has become Thanksgiving Wine Weekend. The weekend (Friday through Sunday) after Thanksgiving, promises a special tasting in the Hat Ranch tasting room, with a wine and cheese pairing tasting. $10 refundable with bottle purchase.
Noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 25 and 26, 16473 Chicken Dinner Road, Caldwell
Nov. 25 and Nov. 26, guests will be treated to “Christmas at the Barn” and receive a Huston Vineyards wine glass and enjoy a four-course wine and food tasting. Sample the upcoming vintage during a barrel tasting, and engage with owner Gregg Alger about the 2015 vintage year. $10 general, $5 members.
Noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 25 and 26, 19348 Lowell Road, Caldwell
Hourly tours including a cheese and wine station, tasting straight from the barrel, food samples, souvenir wine glass, and live, local music from 1 to 4 p.m. $15 general, $10 members, universe.com/stechapelleopenhouse.
▪ For more about November wine events visit: idahowines.org/Events or sunnyslopewinetrail.com/events.html
New Tasting Room Alert
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 25-27, 21452 Hoskins Road, Caldwell
If you haven’t checked out the new Koenig Winery Tasting Room, this month would be a good time. It is beautiful, functional and destination-worthy — as is the wine. New releases, barrel tasting on Nov. 25 and 26 with winemaker Greg Koenig, and house-made soup for all visitors. Grab a bottle of the Frasier Cab or a very spunky Viognier. (No fee).
Noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 25-27, 14807 Sunnyslope Rd. Caldwell
Though I haven’t been to Williamson’s new tasting room yet, I’m making plans. I am quite a fan of their Sangiovese, Petite Sirah and that Sangiovese Rose. I’ll combine some purchases with barrel tasting.
See you there.