Ice Wine from Buhl, Idaho

This is a very interesting article about making a great Ice Wine here in Idaho – Holesinsky Vineyards, Buhl, Id to be precise. The article comes from Magic Valley. [Robin received this article and sent the link to me.]

Ice in their vines: Holesinsky Winery pulls off tricky ice wine harvest

Dec 12, 2019

BUHL — He dipped his pipette into the barrel and pulled out a couple of ounces of liquid gold. “This wine is very, very, very, very, very, very special,” Holesinsky Winery owner and winemaker James Holesinsky said, carefully releasing the yellow-orange ice wine into his glass. Holesinksy has been making wine for 18 years. This is just the second time he’s had a chance to make ice wine. The conditions haven’t been right since 2006. The 2006 harvest was on Halloween; this year’s fell on Oct. 30.
“It’s hard to do,” he said. “The grapes have to be in the perfect condition. You can’t have an influx of an avian bird problem. … All of the stars have to align in order for this to be a reality.”

To make real ice wine, a winemaker has to let his grapes freeze on the vine, harvest them before sunrise while they’re still frozen and squeeze them without letting them thaw. Most of the world’s ice wines come from Germany and Canada. In Idaho, it’s a rarity. The process is risky, but it makes a complex, decadent wine. The winemaker’s harvesting the fruit when the nutrient content peaks. Also, because Holesinsky pressed the grapes while they were frozen, the water content in the wine is lower. It’s a more concentrated product.
“When we picked the grapes while they were frozen, all of the water was suspended as ice,” Holesinsky said. “So when you squeeze them, all you squeeze out is the sugar and the nectar, the flavoring.”

Normally, 2 acres of grapes make 12 barrels of wine. This precious barrel of ice wine — the lone ice wine barrel out of the 40 total barrels Holesinsky made this year — took 2 acres of white Riesling grapes, grown in Hagerman.
“The intensity of flavor is a thousand times a conventional wine,” Holesinsky said.
This ice wine has twice as much sugar as a conventional wine. Most wines are about 21% sugar. This ice wine checks in at 41%. Holesinsky’s ice wine tastes rich and juicy, especially compared to the lemonade-colored wines a few barrels down. Winemakers who can pull off an ice wine earn bragging rights, but the extra work can be lucrative, too. Ice wines are expensive.
This one barrel will sell as 600 half-size bottles and likely earn Holesinksy $30,000 compared to the $24,000 he’d fetch from 12 standard barrels.

Pain in the ice
An enologist has to have perfect weather conditions to make ice wine.
But special weather requirements aren’t the only reason the Gem State doesn’t dabble much in the dessert alcohol. Turning 2 acres of grapes into a barrel of ice wine is grueling.
“We were out picking ice wine at 4 o’clock in the morning at 5 degrees,” Holesinsky said.

It’s not easy to find people willing to wake up in the middle of the night, don headlamps and harvest frozen grapes by hand in Hagerman, Idaho. Labor for the ice wine harvest didn’t come cheap — Holesinsky had to pay his workers $20 an hour. It’s important to finish the harvest quickly — before the sun can start melting the ice in the fruit — so it takes a big crew.
After Holesinsky had the grapes off the vines, he had to press them in the cold.
Normally it takes about 45 minutes to squeeze enough grapes for a barrel of wine. But frozen grapes are tougher.
“You have to squeeze the living (heck) out of it for about four days,” Holesinsky said.
Because the fruit was so full of minerals, Holesinsky said the juice initially smelled like sawdust and dirt, almost like wet cardboard.
The challenge doesn’t end once the juice is in the barrel. Because the sugar content is so high, it’s more difficult to initiate the fermentation process, and it’s trickier to keep the yeast alive. This ice wine is 14% alcohol.
If Holesinsky had been unlucky, birds could have eaten up a large amount of his crop. If he’d waited too long, the grape plants could have taken up the water in the grapes, drawing it into their roots, leaving withered raisins on the vines. The fruit could have started rotting, too.
An ice wine harvest also taxes the plants in the vineyard. When a grape plant senses a freeze, it will pump nutrients into its grapes to provide nourishment for its seeds. That improves the wine, but it comes with a cost.
“They pull all of the resources out of that cane — extra sugar, extra amino acids, polysaccharides, you name it,” Holesinsky said.
That stress isn’t a big deal when you’re only doing an ice wine once every decade or so, Holesinsky said, but you wouldn’t want to weaken your plants with an ice wine harvest every year.

From the vineyard to the shelves
After aging the ice wine for about six months, Holesinsky will bottle it. He’ll filter it lightly before bottling, which will make it less cloudy, but he’ll leave some of the sediment in order to retain the complex flavors. He said a bottle will probably sell for roughly $71 in stores.

Holesinsky Winery last made ice wine 13 years ago. The 2006 Liquid Gold Ice Wine, seen Dec. 5, was an award winner.

When Holesinsky made his first ice wine in 2006, it was good, but a bit syrupy. This one will be better, he said. He hopes people get a chance to taste the wine after all the hard work that went into it.
“It’s very unique,” Holesinsky said. “You don’t get to experience this every day.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include that the ice wine was harvested at the end of October. In addition, due to an editing error, a previous version of this story misstated how many barrels of ice wine were produced. There was just one.

Farm to Table Feast

And it was a good feast! Held at Peaceful Belly Farm and the new event room and building – Grand Opening November 16–18, noon until 6 pm.
The Farm to Table Dinner Series, “Josie of Peaceful Belly, Scott from Snake River Winery, Clay from Stack Rock Cidery, Nate Whitley chef at the Modern Hotel and Chef Abby Carlson have teamed up to create an amazing 5-course meal held on our magical Sunny Slope farm. The plates are creative, unique, and 100% local and seasonal. These dinners will transport you to another time and place where fresh food is cooked with amazing brilliance and presented to the table in a picturesque farm setting.” Here are some photos from the evening. Enjoy and Left-Click to see any of these photos enlarged. All in all – A good dinner.

Sunset at the farm.
The menu for the dinner.
New event room and tasting room.
Appetizer –

Fingerling Potato, Lentils and Onion

Smoked Trout
Warm Fingerling Potatoes
2012 Arena Valley Riesling

Beef Tongue Carpaccio
Black Garlic Aioli
Roasted Chilis
Sunny Slope Cide

Roasted Winter Squash
Brown Butter Tamari Vinaigrette
2014 Blauer Zweigelt

Reflections at the Intermezzo

Pumpkin Pie Sorbet

Roasted Pork Loin
Onion Puree
Swiss Chard
2009 Reserve Bordeaux Blend

Tri of Ice Cream Sandwiches
2014 Orange Muscat

Sunday Brunch at Parma Ridge Winery and Bistro

These are some fantastic Sunday Brunches! But call ahead to make reservations. They do get full and Busy! But then, that’s why they are a 5-Star Restaurant!! And we were lucky enough to receive and try some of their latest releases! Well worth joining their Wine Club. They do make an awesome Reserve Merlot, pictured here. And the Pinot Gris passes the test and goes well with asparagus!
Awesome wines and superbly awesome food. Here are some photos of what Robin and I indulged in. To bad there were no “left overs”. We had to get our daughter Marnie her own Wine Lovers Chocolate Cake. We had ours with vanilla ice cream. Here are the photos! Enjoy and Left-Click any of the photos to see enlarged. Cheers!

L-R 2016 Reserve Merlot (Superb!), 2016 Carmenere (Needs time. 5 years?), 2017 Pinot Gris (Goes with asparagus. Good with salmon) and 2017 LaRae Dolce Gewurztraminer (Superb with chocolate, as in Wine Lovers Chocolate Cake!)
Robin enjoys some wine.
Parma Ridge Pear Salad – with Grilled Chicken. Mixed Greens with Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Bleu Cheese and Poached Pear with Grilled Bread
The Phil Burger – All-Beef Patty with Bacon, Cheddar Cheese and Black Cherry BBQ Sauce and Rosemary Truffle Fries
Boy was it good!
The prize! Wine Lovers Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream.

Two Superb Wine Dinners for Father’s Day

The first one was on June 4th and we pared wines from 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards, 5900 Pearl Rd, Eagle, ID 83616. The second wine dinner was paring Koenig Vineyards, 21452 Hoskins Rd, Caldwell, ID 83607. Both wine dinners were at Chandlers Prime Steaks and Fine Seafood, 981 W Grove St, Boise, ID 83702. We had superb wines and food. If you are in Boise and want a fantastic meal – steaks and seafood being their primary dishes – be sure to go to Chandlers. Check all of the posted links for more information and their hours of operation. Enjoy these photos of the dinners. Let’s start with 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards. You can follow along for the ingredients with the posted menu. Double click any of these photos to see them enlarged. Cheers!

Some of the crowd for appetizers.
Eagle Hills AVA Association President.
Robin relaxes before dinner!
The Menu and Wine List for the evening.
Frutti di Mare
Duck Two Ways
Intermezzo Sorbet
American Wagyu Flat Iron Steak
Fromage Blanc Cheesecake

And then on June 11th, we had a wine dinner featuring Koenig Vineyards wines. Here are some photos to enjoy!

Table setting and mood setter
The menu and wine list.
Opening dinner wine.
Moules Frites. The wine above went with this dish.

Baby Lamb Chops. The wine above was served with these delicious lamb chops.
Intermezzo Sorbet

Braised Short Ribs. The Private Reserve was an awesome paring.

Assorted House Made Truffles. The Ice Wine was a superb match!

Good Night at the Buzz


Just before the Ides of March, we had an awesome Wine Dinner at The Buzz in Boise, celebrating Italian wines. Superb appetizers, soup, salad, main dish and dessert. A good crowd was there to celebrate the feast. Thanks Cristi and Tommy and Peggy for a delightful evening. Left-Click any photo to see enlarged.


Tramezini Three Ways
2012 Montefalco Dango

14% alc paired very well with the salad [17] $26.00

Minestrone Alla Genovese
Another good paring.
2015 Avanti Pinot Noir
12% alc good with the soup. not over powering. [19] $14.00

Southern Italian Style Salad
Super good salad and paring!
2015 Malvasia del Salento
12.5% alc another super paring [17] $16.00

Pizzelle e Salsa Rossa
2013 Castelli di Abola
13.0% alc good match for the main course [18] $21.00

Absolutely delicious!
2016 Saracco Mascato Di Asti
super paring. [18] $20.00

New World Wines at the Buzz Wine Dinner

buzz_logo_cafe_building_bestBack online. Photos downloaded. ‘Puter is cleaned up for another year. Monitor went South – New monitor! Ok. Enough excuses for being late. This month at The Buzz was pretty good. Sorry that not more people attend this Tuesday night monthly event. Such a great way to spend $20 for dinner and some good wines. 2nd Tuesday and Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm. Dinner was differently good. Quinoa Milanesa for one. An awesome Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chickpea Soup.

The wines were good – I bought one this month a South African 2011 Protea, a satisfying blend of Cab Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. Wine ratings for this dinner, is based on a score of [20], which is a perfect, flawless wine. Very subjective. With that in mind, I rated this a [19] Here is what else we had and the wines that went with each entrée. Enjoy. See you next month!!!


Quinoa Milanese Actually I liked this. An interesting and enjoyable appetizer. 2014Arenal Cabernet Sauvignon alc. 13.5 good balance and body with a med long finish. great paring [18] $13.00

Quinoa Milanesa
Actually I liked this. An interesting and enjoyable appetizer.
2014 Arenal Cabertnet Sauvignon
alc. 13.5% good balance and body with a med long finish. great paring [18] $13.00

Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chick Pea Soup Superb! 2012 Renwood Zinfandel alc 14.5 good paring with the food, I'm just not impressed with the wine. Seems to be a little light in balance and finish [15] $23.00

Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chick Pea Soup
2012 Renwood Zinfandel
alc 14.5 good paring with the food, I’m just not impressed with the wine. Seems to be a little light in balance and finish [15] $23.00

California Green Salad Enjoyed this. 2015 Bonny Doon Alc 13.5% good balance and finish. great pairing with the acid of the salad. [18] $17.00

California Green Salad
Enjoyed this.
2015 Bonny Doon
Alc 13.5% good balance and finish. great paing with the acid of the salad. [18] $17.00

Pork and Grilled Peach 2013 Blacksmith Merlot Alc. 14.2% great finish and acid balance. [17] $17.00

Pork and Grilled Peach
2013 Blacksmith Merlot

Alc. 14.2% great finish and acid balance. [17] $17.00

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream (Robin asked for more of the whiskey cream!) This was a super great dessert. 2014 Morse Code Shiraz Alc. 14.0% one of the better wines for the evening, great paring [18] $15.00

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream
(Robin asked for more of the whiskey cream!) This was a super great dessert.
2014 Morse Code Shiraz
Alc. 14.0% one of the better wines for the evening, great paring [18] $15.00

What did I like best? The South African 2011 Protea, pictured above, was superb. And then there was that wonderful soup. A little spicy that only added to the excitement of the soup. By far, the best of the evening was dessert. That was awesome! See what you missed if you didn’t attend? Next month is both beer and wine. It’s Oktoberfest! For the men, wear your Laderhosen. For the ladies, wear your Dirndl.

Parma Ridge Winery Weekend Specials



Yes. Another weekend rolls around. And in Boise, there’s nothing to do. Right ………… Wrong! So after you do all the “neat” summertime activities available to everyone in Boise, you really must go to Parma Ridge Winery! Eat at Happy Hour, or Dinner or Sunday Brunch! And just look at what is going on this weekend!

“Are you ready for the weekend?
We are, with wonderful wine, fabulous food and an amazing view

It’s going to be a fun weekend! Join us on Friday from 5-9 to enjoy the Lucky Tongue Band on the Patio or come by on Saturday or Sunday for Lunch and Wine Tasting. We have Happy Hour on Friday evening from 4-7p.m. and Sunday Brunch Specials. Reservations are recommended if dining on the patio or in the tasting room. We are open Friday, 12-9 p.m., Saturday 12-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. with wine tasting and regular menu all weekend long.

The Lucky Tongue Band will be live at Parma Ridge on Friday, July 8 from 5-9 p.m. We had such a great time last time around, that we wanted to get them back on the calendar for a Friday evening. It is sure to be a fun night of great music, wine and food! We will also have a separate bar open outside for wine and beer purchases. Please note that due to high volumes, we could have 1-1.5 hour wait times on food orders. All food orders will be taken inside at the bar, and please be courteous if newcomers are arriving to help direct them to the inside bar to check in. Plan on making an evening of it and enjoying the atmosphere!

DELICIOUS FOOD SPECIALS (while supplies last):

Rib-Eye Steak
One-Inch Cut Char-Grilled Ribeye Steak

One-Inch Cut Char-Grilled Ribeye Steak with Bleu Cheese Butter, Rosemary Truffle Mashed Potatoes with Cabernet Beef Demi-Glace, Char-Grilled Broccolini and Storm’s Homemade Grilled Bread for $16.95

Storm’s Famous Salmon Brined
Storm’s Famous Salmon Brined

Storm’s Famous Salmon Brined, Lightly Smoked and Pan Fried with Rosemary Truffle Butter and Rosemary Truffle Mashed Potatoes accompanied by Char-Grilled Broccolini Storm’s Homemade Grilled Bread for $16.95
Happy Hour Specials Friday from 4-7 p.m. with purchase of glass of wine, mimosa or beer:

$7.50 – 2 Sliders with Rosemary Truffle Fries; Your choice of:
“Mesquite” Ground Beef with Smoked Provolone, Bacon & Mesquite Aioli
Triple B” Ground Beef with Bacon, Blue Cheese and BBQ
Deluxe” Ground Beef with American Cheese and Diner Sauce
Pulled Pork”Braised Pulled Pork with Black Cherry BBQ Sauce

$7.50 – Personal size Flatbread; Your choice of:
Grilled Chicken with Black Cherry BBQ sauce
The Patricia” Prosciutto and Arugula with a Balsamic Reduction
Smoked Pulled Pork with Black Cherry BBQ sauce
Fungi” Sauteed Mushrooms, Fresh Shaved Parmesean with Mozzerella and Garlic Oil
Italian Sausage, Pepperoni & Mushroom with Homemade Red Sauce
Pepperoni with Homemade Red sauce
The Kathleen” Vegetarian Mozzarella and Garlic Oil, Smoked blue cheese, Sautéed pears with Honey and Butter, Spicy Pecans topped with fresh Arugula and a Balsamic Reduction
$5 – Basket of Rosemary Garlic Truffle Fries with House-made aioli

Sunday Brunch Specials:
NEW! Brunch Burger – Quarter-Pound Black Angus Burger with Melted Double Cream Brie, Apple-wood Smoked Bacon, and Sunny-side up Egg with a lemon-tarragon aioli and Rosemary Garlic Truffle Fries for $9.95
Bacon, Egg and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich with Cheesy Bacon Fries – $6.95
Best Ever Biscuits and Gravy with a Fried Egg – $7.95
We are sampling our new 2014 Parma Ridge Merlot Zinfandel Blend in the Tasting Room this weekend, not yet bottled so get a sneak peak of how it’s tasting!

In the News –
We’ve had another wonderful review! Check it out on the American Winery Guide online at Parma Ridge Winery Review. Thank you so much for coming out Sally and for the wonderful exposure on Parma Ridge!

Have you read the article in the Treasure Magazine yet? If not, here is the link to the online article: A great one on wine tasting in the Treasure Valley. The article begins on page 37.

Mark Your Calendar for these upcoming Events
Parma Ridge night at the Movies, Join us at the Parma Motor-Vu Drive-In Theater on Wednesday, July 13 at 8 p.m. for Wine tasting and the movie Bottle Shock. $5 entry fee gets you a tasting AND admission to the movie that will be starting at dusk. Wine will also be available to purchase by the glass and bottle that evening.
We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

29June2016_1c_Capitol-Cellars_Storm-And-Stephanie_Robin-BetterCheers,Steph & Storm
Parma Ridge Winery
Copyright © 2016 Parma Ridge Winey, All rights reserved.
24509 Rudd Road, Parma ID, 83660