Bitner Vineyards Review
Address: 16645 Plum Rd. Caldwell,Idaho 83607.
Phone Number: 208-455-1870
Tasting Hours: Fri-Sun 12:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: Snake River Valley AVA, Idaho
Review Date: 3/2/2014
For three days in a row this week we have had spring-like weather with temperatures near 60 degrees and lots of sunshine. My husband informed me that spring had sprung and it was high time we went out on Saturday and blew out the winter cobwebs. This translates to Time for Wine Tasting.
We woke up on Saturday to more winter-like weather. The skies were gray and Fridays blue had given way to rain-filled clouds. Determined to have a Saturday afternoon of grape delight, we drug out the rain coats and set out at noon to rinse away the winter cobwebs!
The Place: Bitner Vineyards is located in the Sunnyslope area of Canyon County in Southwest Idaho. The tasting room sits high atop a hill. A Bed and Breakfast that is part of the Bitner Vineyards is located next to the winery. Even on a gray, rainy day, the views from the patio can take your breath away. If you decide to come and stay at the Bed and Breakfast, there are vineyard and orchard walks available as well as bike riding. Beginning in May of each year, Bitner features live music on Sundays. Picnic lunches are encouraged to or you can purchase an appetizer tray in the tasting room. With so much to offer, Bitner is host to many local events including weddings.
Ron and Mary Bitner, owners of Bitner Vineyards, were honored with Canyon Countys Farm Family of the year in 2013. Ron is a man of many hats. He is a professional entomologist who has become quite good at growing wine grapes and is now trying his hand at growing French Black Truffles.
Bitner Vineyard, located in the Snake River Valley AVA, is the first vineyard in Idaho to earn a Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) certification. LIVE is a 501(c) 3 organization that independently certifies environmentally and socially responsible wine growing in the Northwest. The vineyard is subject to a third-party inspection process to ensure it is farmed using ecologically-sound and science-based pest management practices. The certification also verifies that workers are treated fairly and that waterways are protected from agricultural activities.
The Wines:  One of the highlights of attending a tasting at Bitner is the delightful Walt Varns who has been behind a wine counter for fifteen years guiding folks like ourselves in the art of rinsing out the cobwebs with a fine glass of wine. Walt is passionate and knowledgeable about the wines he serves and the Idaho wine industry.
Our first pour was a 2011 Riesling. This Riesling is a dry wine drinker’s dream. Produced by Koenig Winery and Distillery for Bitner, it was my favorite of the day. It is crisp and clean with hints of pear and a nice floral aroma. This white is a little heavier bodied than most Rieslings which I found very pleasing. The next sampling was a 2010 Chardonnay. It is light-bodied with strong citrus flavors, a hint of butterscoth, and a buttery finish. Our third pour was the High Desert Coyote White Blend (Viognier, Riesling and Chardonnay). The wine has a strong tropical and floral aroma and a pleasant, lingering honey-like finish.
Our fist red was a 2009 Petit Verdot/Merlot Blend. This light bodied blend has a pleasant cedar aroma with a delightful peppery finish. The second red that we sampled was a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (60%)/Shiraz (40%) blend. Ron Bitner spent some time in Australia and has a passion for Shiraz wines. This wine is a good example of this passion. It is full bodied with hints of coffee and violet. It was my favorite red. Our final red tasting of the day was the 2009 Las Tres Mujeras. This is a big, fruity, strawberry jam-like wine. Las Tres Mujeras (Three Women) is a generational story of three Hispanic women in Mary Bitners family who displayed courage despite all that life handed them.
Extras:  While not on the pouring list the day of our tasting, I highly recommend one other Bitner wine that I have had the opportunity to taste. The wine is the Menopause Merlot. A good friend purchased a bottle of this wine as a birthday gift. This smooth wine cures many more ills then just those associated with menopause. It is a concentrated wine, rich in tannins with lovely notes of cherry.
While there, be sure to say hello to Brix the winery mascot. This delightful little Jack Russell will even dance for you under the guidance of Walt and a little dog biscuit of course. Brix is supper friendly and likes to interact with all that come through the door. He was a ray of sunshine and laughter on a cold and rainy day.