Gumption. Chutzpah. Get-up-and-go.
These words all have the same thing in common: winemakers Von and Crystal Potter.
If you are an Idahoan oenophile, or wine lover in general, you should acquaint yourself with Potter Wines because the Potters are breathing fire into the Idaho wine industry and making a name for themselves with their Jalapeno Wine.
Seriously. Smoke came out of my ears when I sampled their Scorching Jalapeno.
Tempered with traditional wines such as Riesling, Potter Wines has grown from a hobby into a full-fledged, growing winery.
I recommend Potter Wines dry Riesling, it’s very good.
But before I can really introduce you to the winery, I have to introduce the players!
Von and Crystal Potter with their children (I like to imagine those tiny feet stomping the grapes)!
Von Potter is a determined go-getter. According to his wife Crystal, he’s the type of guy who acts on project or activity ideas by delivering results the next day, if not sooner.
And Von has clearly met his match with Crystal. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to leave behind a stable working life in order to start her own fitness business.
Clearly these two were destined for something big, and that something turned out to be a winery.
Before he and Crystal were married, Von had a backyard that housed an abundance of standard green grapes. They dried them and made raisins but still had a bunch left over and Von decided to make wine.
It was a simple white table wine and Von told me he did everything wrong, yet when he brought it to a family function everyone loved it so much his dad convinced him to enter it into competition. Lo and behold it took first place at the Western Idaho Fair.
They made more wine throughout the following year, again entered the competition, and– you guessed it – took first place.
That was when Von had the idea to make jalapeno wine. As you can imagine Crystal was a bit skeptical. But from the first sip they both knew they had something pretty special and entered it into competition.
For the third time in three years they took first place.
That’s when they knew they had a business on their hands. As fate would have it, Crystal’s family owns property containing an abandoned house. The Potters saw possibilities in the old place and asked the Central Health Department to come out for an inspection. Then, over evenings and weekends for the next four months, Von and a friend gutted and renovated the 900 square foot home and got the approval they needed from the health department.
They don’t have a tasting room just yet, but for now you can catch them at The New Boise Farmer’s Market.
So. What does one DO with a jalapeno wine? Well, I cook with it. I’ve used it with stir fry and it was fantastic. Check out their website (jalepenowine.com) for recipes – including one for margaritas!
Also, believe it or not, I have heard tales of people liking it so much they will drink a glass straight up!
Up to you my friends.
If you are local to Boise, you can find the Jalapeno Wine and Riesling at the Farmer’s Market, the Co-op Wine Shop and Fred Meyer’s in Garden City.
If you are out of the area, don’t fret! Visit their website and they will ship to you.
Be on the lookout for their Pineapple-Jalapeno (soooo good) and Scorching Jalapeno (soooo SPICY) in early 2015. Don’t worry I’ll remind you when it comes out.
As I mentioned, Potter Wines is more than just the Jalapeno Wine! I got to taste some soon-to-be-released wines while visiting the winery and am excited to report that they have a delicious PUMPKIN wine coming out this fall! As soon as I tasted it I knew my husband would love it and I was right, I took a bottle home and it was gone within 24 hours.
They also have Syrah, Mourvédre and a Syrah-Mourvédre blend coming down the pike this fall or winter.
To learn more about the life of these busy winemakers, visit Crystal’s blog Wine, Workouts and Whippersnappers.
Talking with the Potters made it clear that they are eager and excited to be involved in the Idaho wine industry. They’ve received an admittedly mixed reception among their peers, but they are enthusiastic about having a conversation regarding what wine should be.
Von and Crystal – thank you so much for taking the time to chat and double thanks for all the wine you let me take home!!