Holeinsky Winery brings art to wine

Idaho is known for producing a lot of impressive things—potatoes, trout, and world-class skiers, to name a few. But producing great wine hasn’t traditionally made the list.

The creative and impassioned crew at Holeinsky Vineyard and Winery, however, is changing that.

“I love having people taste my art,” James Holesinsky said. “Bringing art to wine, that’s what we’re doing.”

The Holeinsky Vineyard and Winery is located in Buhl, covering 12 acres of a ranch on the rim of the Snake River. James was raised on the property and it was his father’s dream to create a vineyard. A couple of decades after planting their original fan trellises for grapes, that dream has become a reality. The Holeinsky Winery is now producing some of the most celebrated and unique wines in the state.

“I followed through on the family dream and the rest is just history,” James said. “Our wines are all about our story.”

James’ family roots run all the way to Czechoslovakia, where another Holeinsky Winery can be found. The craft runs in his blood. That being said, creating an organic vineyard is not the type thing you’d expect from a couple of chemists, as James and his wife and business partner, Caitlin, are. The couple spends part of their time working in their other business, Clear Lake Products, producing biodegradable and eco-friendly cleaning chemicals. They spend the rest working on their passion.

“We’re the American dream. A husband and wife making it happen,” James said.

Holeinsky Winery has really started to come into its own recently.

“It takes 20 years, that’s the ‘Golden Age’ for vineyards,” James said of their completely chemical-free winery. “All of your grapes are like athletes, you need to figure out how to bring the best out of them.”    

Holeinsky has evolved from just three varietals to now producing over 30 different styles. Many of them have made the podium in state and regional awards contests. Holeinsky’s Syrahs, Chardonnays and Rosés are especially popular.

“People will buy whatever we produce because they know that we produce quality,” James said. “People like to be intrigued.”

Holeinsky is also known for their creative names and labels, like their Unicorn Pale Fizz. “You’ve got to have fun with it,” James said, about the humor and sarcasm they bring to their bottles.

As for the success of their wines, besides effort and passion, good dirt is the other key ingredient.

“We have very unique soil here,” James said, explaining that the prehistoric Bonneville Flood covered the Snake River Plain with “a melting pot of minerals that create complex flavors.”

Tapping into the unique soil of the region has helped Holeinsky and the Gem State to get some respect.

“Idaho is finally no longer the ‘red-headed stepchild’ of the industry. They’re not telling us to just be quiet and make Riesling.” James joked.

Holeinsky Wines are available throughout the Wood River Valley

“From dirt to bottle, we do it all,” James said. “That’s what sets us apart.”

By Mike McKenna

Chamber Corners appear bi-weekly in the Wood River Weekly

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