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On a hillside at the confluence of the Clearwater and Potlatch Rivers near Juliaetta, Idaho sits one of the most picturesque wineries in all the New World. It is not hyperbole. This view is depicted on the label of every bottle at Rivaura Estate Vineyards and Winery. There are some wineries that might leave it at that; let their customers pay for the view but not necessarily good wine. That is not with case with Rivaura, where the view is only the beginning.
The land where Rivaura’s vineyards are now located was purchased by Ron Hewett, Sr. in 1959. His family has had ties to the Lewis-Clark Valley for more than 100 years and to this day runs a hay and cattle ranching business there. However, the property’s soil and south-facing slopes are ideal for premium grape growing. Ron Hewett, Sr., and sons Reece Hewett and Ron Hewett, Jr., did their research and decided to launch Rivaura, planting their first vines in 2014. Consulting geologist Kevin Pogue, PhD, RG, of VinTerra Consulting in Walla Walla, Washington believes that, “some of the finest wines ever produced from Idaho grapes will be sourced from these vineyards." In a short span of time, Dr. Pogue’s assessment has proven correct.
Under the direction of Consulting Winemaker Billo Naravane and Assistant Winemakers Vince Hewett (Ron, Jr.’s son) and Lane Hewett (Reece’s son) the wine program has already received critical acclaim. In 2021 Rivaura won Double Golds for their Viognier and Rosé of Cabernet France and Gold for their Grenache at the Best of the Northwest Wine Competition. Wine sourced from Rivaura by other wineries also were awarded. Great Northwest Wine magazine named Rivaura the 2022 Winery to Watch and Wine Business Monthly declared it one of its Hot Brands in the U.S.
An absolutely stunning tasting room is overseen by Manager Shannon Hewett (Reece’s wife and Lane’s mom), who is also the Director of Vineyard Operations. During the winter you can visit Wednesday through Sunday. With a reservation you can even experience a tasting of all their offerings with the winemaker.
Visiting the Hewett family and Rivaura Estate Winery and Vineyards should be at the very top of your itinerary when planning your trip to the Gem State. Great people, great views, and great wine. How does it get any better?
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