Vandal Connected Wineries
There’s nothing new about Vandals making their mark on the vines and in the cellars of Northwest wineries. Making sure the entire Vandal family has an opportunity to take in a tasting – that’s where Vandal Connected Wineries come in.
Do you know of a winery or vineyard with a University of Idaho connection? Tell us all about it here.
Alphabetical by winery name
Vandal Connection: Holly Bonnalie ’06, College of Science
Business partners Rick Wasem and Lynn DeVleming have one primary mission: produce highly awarded and respected wines from the finest vineyards in Washington State and local vineyards in the Lewis Clark Valley AVA.
Vandal Connection: Ron Bitner, former employee U of I Extension, Amy Bitner, former student
Established in 1981, family-run Bitner Vineyards in the rich, beautiful area of the Snake river Valley. The vineyards are defined by its LIVE (Low Input Vineyard and Enology) certified sustainable farming, hand-harvested grapes and patiently crafted wines.
Vandal Connection: Melinda Smyser ’81 and Logan Smyser Griffin ’11, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
Capitol Cellars opened on March 3, 2015. Owners Melinda and Skip Smyser, along with daughter, Logan Smyser Griffin created a restaurant that focuses on serving high-quality, local cuisine and offering a world-class wine list in Boise’s subterranean Belgravia cellar location. The Belgravia, built in 1904, is one of Boise’s historical buildings which is reminiscent of Boise’s turn-of-the-century elegance.
Clearwater Canyon Cellars
Vandal Connection: Coco Umiker ’04, College of Science, Karl Umiker ‘00, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Clearwater Canyon Cellars is a well established winery in a state-of-the-art facility surrounded by their Umiker Estate Vineyard. They are the fourth generation of their family to live and farm on the property. Their portfolio of vineyard relationships continues to grow and develop within the Lewis-Clark Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills, Yakima Valley and Columbia Valley. The approach to winemaking and viticulture at Clearwater Canyon is best summed up with the winery’s mission statement: To create spectacular wines through respect and love for our land, vines, growers, colleagues and customers.
Cold Springs Winery
Vandal Connection: Senator William Ringert ’53, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Established in 1998 Cold Springs is part of the Snake River Valley Wine Region and boasts over 12 varieties of wine. The vineyard takes up 32 acres and they grow, produce and bottle all of their wines on site.
Colter’s Creek Estate Vineyard
Moscow and Juliaetta, ID
Vandal Connection: Mike Pearson ’87, College of Engineering
Nestled along the Potlatch and Clearwater Rivers, Colter’s Creek Estate Vineyards wines are carefully maintained to produce outstanding fruit. Their mission is to craft high-quality estate wines and wines showcasing fruit from the Lewis Clark Valley and Snake River Valley AVA’s, produce 100% of their wines, practice sustainable and responsible farming and create jobs to boost the local economy.
Coeur d’Alene Cellars
Coeur d’Alene, ID
Vandal Connection: Kimber Gates, Friend of the University of Idaho
Coeur d’Alene Cellars is a small creative winery focusing on the fine art of wine since 2002. They produce 3,000 cases each year of ultra-premium wines made with finesse, nuance, balance and character.
Dauntless Wine Co.
Forrest Grove, OR
Vandal Connection: Paul Warmbier ’17, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
Dauntless Wine Co. was founded by three Iraq war combat veterans – two Marines and one Corpsman. After years of service, the three founders felt that more could be done for the veteran community. But why wine? Winemakers agree that great wine is made in the vineyard, which at its heat is one of man’s oldest agricultural crops. As a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Dauntless partners with the organization to assist Veterans in becoming farmers and agricultural leaders in their communities.
Hells Canyon Winery & ZHOO ZHOO Wine
Vandal Connection: Hadley Robertson ’04, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, Leslie and Steve Robertson, Parents of Former Students
Hells Canyon wines are hand-crafted wines grown and estate bottled in the beautiful Snake River Valley of Idaho. For thirty years, Steve Robertson and his family have been committed to cultivating a jewel of a vineyard, producing high quality fruit that results in delicious and well-balanced wines. Hells Canyon Winery will become the first winery in Idaho to use solar power in its day-to-day operations supporting their mission of family owned and sustainably farmed.
ZHOO ZHOO is the second generation of wines established by the three daughters of Steve and Leslie. Their approach to winemaking is similar to their father with a cooks’ perspective. Zhoo Zhoo believes in the simple pleasures of life and enjoying them with your loved one, your Zhoo Zhoo.
Vandal Connection: Jacob Alger ’22, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Mary Alger, ’89, ’99, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences
Huston Vineyards is an Idaho estate vineyard and artisan winery. Owners May and Gregg Alger are farmers, with fruit grown in one of their estate vineyards or another specially selected vineyard, which bring unique terroir components to their wines. Each site is carefully farmed and personally managed to ensure the premium quality of handcrafted, small lot varietal wines.
Indian Creek Winery
Vandal Connection: Bill Stowe ’61, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Tammy Stowe McClure ’05, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Mike McClure '06, College of Science
Family-owned and operated, Indian Creek Winery truly believes in that old saying “Work hard, play hard.” Bill and Mui Stowe have been working hard since 1982 to craft premium wines from the best grapes in the heart of Idaho’s Snake River Valley appellation. Second generation Tammy Stowe-McClure and husband Mike, stepped on board in 2005 to help continue the success of this growing winery.
Koenig Vineyards and Distillery
Vandal Connection: Andrew Koenig ’95, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Koenig Vineyards was founded in 1995 with the goal of hand-crafting small lots of fine varietal wines from the Sunny Slope District of Idaho’s Snake River Valley. They are committed to quality in the vineyards where responsible viticulture and low yields enable the harvest of exceptional grapes.
Koenig Distillery combines Old Word traditions with some of the Northwest’s finest ingredients to produce classic eau-de-vie fruit brandies, super-premium vodka and award-winning whiskey. For proprietor Andrew Koenig, the idea to establish a distillery in Southwest Idaho has roots in Europe where he spent some three years. Later, at home in Idaho, some of state’s finest fruit was being grown on the Sunny Slope, where long summer days, cool nights and the temperate influence of the Snake River create an ideal climate for growing aromatic fruit. Koenig set out to establish a small orchard near the river. Peach, apricot, plum, pear and cherry varieties, known for their particular flavor, were planted in 1995. Harvest from these plantings comprise the majority of Koenig brandies.
Lindsay Creek Vineyards
Vandal Connection: Art McIntosh, parent of former student; Doug McIntosh ’81, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
“Taste our commitment” is Lindsay Creek Vineyards’ motto. It expresses their dedication to produce premium wine, open space, music and good times. The family agribusiness is owned by brothers Art and Doug Mcintosh and their wives Michelle and Brenda. Founded in 2007, they joined the list of impressive Northwest winemakers planting the first crop of 150 sticks of grapes.
Monte De Oro Winery and Vineyards
Vandal Connection: Brian Allman ’80, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
"Great wines, Great vines, Great people” Monte De Oro’s current wine selection reflects the interests of Monte De Oro’s family owners, whose goal it is to produce the best possible wine from grapes grown in the Temecula Valley. These wines are crafted in a style to showcase the true varietal character of each grape variety, balanced with the fruit forward territory of the Temecula Valley and subtle influences from extended barrel gaining in French, European and American oak barrels. Monte De Oro’s signature wines are elegant, balanced, well-structured and integrated, great with food or by themselves, and approachable in their youth but having a structure to improve for years to come.
SVP National Sales: Taylor Hardman ‘09, College of Business and Economics
Director of Key Accounts: Amy Jacobsen ‘14, College of Business and Economics
Portfolio Sales and Marketing Manager: Maris Stilinovich ‘18, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
Territory Sales Manager: Zoie Brede ‘18, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
Associate Brand Manager: Taylor Caswell ‘17, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
Precept Wine is the largest privately owned wine company in the Northwest. We’re seamlessly integrated to run our own vineyards, wineries, sales and marketing, world-class tasting rooms and hospitality.
Rivaura Estates Vineyards
Vandal Connection: Sheila Hewett ‘02, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, and Todd Hewett, parents of a former student
Like a river, life itself ebbs and flows. Life yields to the forces of nature around it, gently bending and changing over time. As seasons pass, the edges smooth out to reveal a new configuration that leads to more opportunity. For more than 50 years, we have worked with the land and know, by heart, to support four successive generations of the Hewett family who’ve grown up along the banks of the Clearwater River near Lewiston, ID. The river is a metaphor for our drive and determination. We work together out of profound respect for our shared history.
Split Rail Winery
Vandal Connection: Jed Glavin ’03, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, Laura Hefner-Glavin ’03, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
Split Rail Winery is propagated by the minds of a new generation of drinker. We create wine that is spawned from whimsy and reticent of the soil that we stand upon. Let us bring the farm to your glass; bring Idaho soil to your lips. In its most basic sense, Split Rail Winery emerged from a fervent belief in supporting local agriculture and bitner creating Idaho-centric products, exploring new wines, and wine styles, and an unfettered love for drinking, eating and debauchery.
Vine 46 Winery
Vandal Connection: Jeff and Barbara Ebel, parents of former students
Vine 46 is a boutique winery featuring an eclectic variety of red wines and a small sampling of white wines. The winery was created among a diverse group of individuals who came together to share a common passion – appreciation and exploration of great wines. True to our mission, vision and values, at Vine 46 we create original wines that are a bit unexpected allowing you to explore your personal favorites – possibly shared among the most unlikely of friends.
Williamson Orchards and Vineyard
Vandal Connection: Michael Williamson ’01, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Monica Williamson ’01, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; Beverly Williamson-Mack ’02, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
Williamson Orchards and Vineyards is a 4th generation family owned and operated business which aims to produce the highest quality product and provide honest and knowledgeable service to our clients. We feel it is important to practice good business while serving as stewards of the land. We strive to use natural and organic growing methods whenever possible.