By Michael Kaiser
The annual WineAmerica Fall Board of Directors and Membership meeting has come and gone once again. This year we visited the Snake River Valley in Southwest Idaho. The Snake River Valley is Idaho's first American viticultural area and is home to the largest concentration of wineries and vineyards in the state. The meeting itself was held at Hotel 43, a boutique hotel in Downtown Boise. This year we had attendees from Maryland, Nebraska, Idaho, Michigan, Colorado, California, Washington, Missouri, Oregon, Virginia, South Dakota, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Ohio.
The WineAmerica Board of Directors discussed a wide range of new association initiatives this week, and there will be more news on those initiatives as they progress. The WineAmerica Board and the State Associations Council also held various policy discussions ranging from the reauthorization of the Farm Bill to continuing to fight the so-called CARE Act (HR 1161).
On Monday night, the Idaho Wine Commission hosted an informal welcome reception, sponsored by the Southwest Idaho Tourism Association for the meeting attendees. Six local wineries were featured at the reception: Williamson Orchards and Vineyards, Cinder Wines, Bitner Vineyards, Huston Vineyards, Woodriver Cellars and Fraser Vineyards. The group then enjoyed a dinner at Fork Restaurant in Boise featuring local ingredients and wine.
Tuesday after the Board meeting ended we visited Bitner Vineyards (owned and operated by WineAmerica Board member Ron Bitner and his wife Mary) and then went to Ste. Chappelle Winery (the largest in the state) for a catered dinner and wine pairing. An enjoyable ending to a productive day.
The dates and location have been determined for the 2012 Fall Board of Directors and Membership Meeting. The meeting will be in Sonoma County, CA from November 12 to 14, 2012. The exact location has yet to be determined.