Last December Idaho Winery Tours went on the auction block. Not the whole business, but a full day tour for ten. And on our first birthday the gentleman who won the item in their silent auction took nine friends out to wine country.
What is Life’s Kitchen you ask? From their about page:
Life’s Kitchen is dedicated to transforming the lives of at-risk young adults by building self sufficiency and independence through comprehensive food service and life skills training, and placement in the food service industry.What a awesome group of people. It’s really great when folks get together to help each other get a leg up in this world. Idaho Winery Tours is proud to be a pert of such a great organization. Teaching real skills to our young adults is a wonderful cause and I hope you’ll become a part of it too.
We started on the west side of town and made our way to the Sunny Slope. Martin Fujishin’s tasting room was our first stop. It’s alwys great to see Martin. His smiling face and depth of knowledge are amazing. As a professor and manager in the field of winemaking he’s a great resource when it comes to grapes and wine making. You can find out more about him here, and here. Their canned peaches are also super tasty with one of his late harvests!
Then it was off to the Orchard House. I love the Orchard House. Over the last year I’ve gotten to know the people who work there and I can say, unequivocally, they are (1) really great at what they do, and (b) they’re the sweetest people; even when they’re scrambling to handle one of my tours. At the moment my favorite is the halibut and potatoe wedges. Yum!Next we headed over to Ron and Mary Bitner’s place. As you may know if you’ve been out there, or seen the view on this site, it is one of Idaho’s best places to look out over the fruited plain while enjoying a crisp riesling, or a chardonnay that’s spent a few months in oak. It was great to hear that they like the video we just did for ETV. I think my guests could have spent the rest of the day there, but they bought the tour and a tour they shall have. Koenig’s tasting room and distillery is always a great stop. It’s funny to watch folks stick a hand out to touch the copper distiller, only to read the “you touch it, you clean it” sign. It would probably take a person about a day and a half to make it shine. Kelly and Francine were on hand to pour the line and help people to sip some of their famous huckleberry vodka. Over ice on a hot day, I’ve heard it’s divine. Next we hit the oldest and most well known of Idaho’s wineries, Ste. Chapelle. Jake and Elwood Blues were there belting out Rubber Biscuit and a few other Chicago Blues favorites. Ste. Chapelle has that old world European feel and a commanding view as well. Our guests mulled about looking at all the wine and accoutrements until I told them to “belly up” and then the tasting resumed. Our last stop was Indian Creek Winery in Kuna, Idaho. We were lucky to have both Tammy and Mike on hand. As a special treat, Mike did a couple of barrel tastings. Their operation was full of barrels of wine, as they were getting ready to bottle. We got an exclusive look on how their bottler works and a ton of info on what it takes to turn grapes into wine. Not and easy process, I assure you. Thanks Tammy and Mike for being such wonderful and informative hosts. As the day ended and the receipts were signed, we loaded up the last of the guests and their bottles, finished up a brutal game of table tennis, then headed for home. Dahlia, the wine dog, with ball in mouth, was sad to see us go. Thanks so much for making Sunday and the first anniversary of Idaho Winery Tours a fun day. You’re all welcome back any time!