Salmon River Wine Initiative

Salmon River Wine Initiative (5)

The Salmon River Wine Initiative began during a presentation on September 17, 2013 when Idaho Wine Commission representatives Melissa Sanborn showed a slide of three regions in Idaho having been identified by the Idaho Wine Commission as suitable for growing wine grapes.  The Snake River Valley has official American Viticulture Area status, the Lewis Clark Valley is working on AVA status and the Salmon River area is rich with possibilities.

On November 14, 2013 a presentation at the Salmon Rapids Lodge brought together local area residents who have expressed their interest in pursuing viticulture, wineries and wine based tourism.  The wine and wine grape industry have experienced significant growth in the US. A well-attended meeting was held in Riggins to determine the interest of area residents to explore the industry.

The Salmon River Wine and Viticulture Conference held on January 29, 2014 brought together 44 attendees and experts in the area of viticulture, fruit crops, wineries, business and viticulture and enology education. Quite a number of landowners and business people in the community are actively investigating and pursuing wine industry related opportunities in Riggins and White Bird.

Next steps include exploring the creation of grape growers co-operatives and an educational tour of Walla Walla's Enology and Viticulture school, Port of Walla Walla winery incubators and presentations by Walla Walla Community College tentatively set for early May 2014.



Thursday, 03 April 2014 09:54

Resources for Grower Cooperatives

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How do you start a Cooperative?  Where do you begin?  Below you will find information a couple of great resources - USDA Rural Development and NW Cooperative Development Center.

USDA Rural Development


Power Point Presentation - Steps to Organizing a Cooperative

Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program - The Rural Cooperative Development Grant program provides funding for establishing and operating centers for cooperative development. The primary purpose of these centers is improving the economic condition of rural areas through the development of new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives.

Publications on cooperative development: 

The keynote speaker for the conference was Dr. Essie Fallahi, Director of Pomology and Viticulture, University of Idaho.

Among Dr. Fallahi's many accomplishments:

Vice President of the American Society for Horticultural Science

President of the American Pomological Society

Recipient of the Governor's Award of Excellence for Discoveries in Fruit Research

Declaration of his Birthday as Dr. Esmaeil Fallahi Day in Idaho by Governor of Idaho (Governor Risch)

Editor of 12 Scientific Journals in the US and other countries in the World

Nominated for the World Fruit Commissioner

Author of over 350 papers & 100 book chapters

Invited Speaker to Spain, England, China, Iran, Australia, Brazil, Chile, FRance, Korea and other countries

Dr. Fallahi has both a personal website and a University of Idaho faculty page with extensive information on both.  Dr. Fallahi presented on the growing of grapes and other fruit.  He answered many questions after his presentation and took time to talk individually with attendees during lunch.  Essie said that he believes the Riggins area has a great micro-climate that would offer unique potential as both a place to grow quality grapes and a uniquely beautiful place to visit.  His suggestion to the attendees was to work to create a niche market instead of trying to be a large market presence.  He greatly enjoyed the beauty of the area and was excited about the potential of the area to produce world class fruit.  Dr. Fallahi suggested that in addition to growing wine grapes, people in the area should consider growing table grapes and other fruit.  Table grapes in the state of Idaho have quickly grown to be a multi-million dollar industry.  He showed many examples of the the ways the Parma research station has developed to accelerate the maturity of fruit bearing plants.  Many trees were able to produce crops within a few years as opposed to the normal 7-10 years.  Essie offered to share in more detail information with those who wanted to pursue growing fruit locally.

The handouts Dr. Fallahi gave out on "Yield, Quality Attributes and Degree Day Requirements of Various Wine Grapes under Climatic Conditions of Intermountain West Region" and "Influence of Wine Grape Cultivars on Growth and Leaf Blade and Petiole Mineral Nutrients" can be downloaded here.

Ida-Lew CEDA Press Release Header

Salmon River Wine & Viticulture Conference to be held January 29th

Grangeville, ID, January 17, 2014:  “In the 1970s and again in 1996, three regions in Idaho were identified by the University of Idaho as suitable for growing wine grapes,” said organizer Melisa Bryant of Ida-Lew EDC.  “The Snake River Valley has official American Viticulture Area status, the Lewis Clark Valley is working on AVA status and the Salmon River area is rich with possibilities. It makes sense to explore this industry for the Salmon River area: the global wine supply is barely keeping up with demand and US wine is already a booming $34.6 Billion industry.”

Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:38

Salmon River Wine & Viticulture Conference

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Salmon River Wine & Viticulture Conference

"Exploring Wine for the Salmon River Area" ~ Melisa Bryant, Economic Development Specialist

For me, it began with a “light bulb moment” during a September 2013 presentation by Melissa Sanborn, owner of Colter’s Creek Winery & Vineyard and a Commissioner with the Idaho Wine Commission. She showed a map entitled “Idaho Growing Regions” with three circled areas in the state of Idaho. Melissa said the Snake River Valley has official American Viticulture Area status, the Lewis Clark Valley is working on AVA status, and the area around Riggins and White Bird has potential. While her presentation focused on the Snake and LC Valleys, my mind kept going back to the idea that the Riggins/White Bird area has wine grape growing potential.

Monday, 18 November 2013 17:25

November 14, 2013 - Presentation and Supporting Data

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Salmon River Wine Initiative

On November 14, 2013 the Salmon River Chamber of Commerce hosted a presentation by Melisa Bryant of the Ida-Lew Economic Development Council on the Salmon River Wine Initiative.  Melisa was joined by Kelly Dahlquist of the Clearwater Economic Development Association to discuss the potential of viticulture in the Riggins / White Bird area.

Contact Info

for assistance please contact:

Ida-Lew Economic Development


Phone: 208.983.8302


300 W. Main St. Ste 201

Grangeville, ID 83530

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