The Anti-Black Friday: Visit Idaho Wine Country 

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Picture this: It's the day after Thanksgiving, but instead of standing in an endless line hoping for doorbusters, you're reclining on the Koenig Vineyards patio, spooning up hot homemade soup and sipping local wine.

For many Boiseans, that's a vision the Idaho Wine Commission has helped make a reality. With the commission's encouragement, more than a dozen Idaho wineries step up each year to offer weekend specials and tastings over Thanksgiving weekend as an alternative to the chaos of Black Friday shopping.

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  • Lex Nelson

"I wouldn't say that they're Black Friday events," said IWC Executive Director Moya Schatz Dolsby. "... The point of this is to go out and have an experience with your family, not necessarily go shopping."

Many of the wineries will hold sneak-peeks of upcoming, unbottled vintages siphoned straight from the barrel. Others have partnered with local businesses to create holiday markets, or will entertain guests with soup contests, performances from carolers, chocolate pairings and more. For many vinophiles, it's an annual tradition to hop from winery to winery, packing in as much drinking as possible.

"Very rarely do people just go to one winery. They want to see several and compare them and see what's going on," Dolsby said. "They do make a day of it, they get a driver or have a designated driver and just go out there. It's a blast, and a great thing to do with your friends and family."

click to enlarge LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson

Dolsby hopes locals will view the weekend as an opportunity to introduce out-of-town relatives to Idaho wines. And while shopping isn't required, the IWC's Idaho Wines Fly Free partnership with Alaska Airlines makes easy and free to take home a case.

According to IWC, there's a hefty list of Idaho wineries participating, including Bitner Vineyards, Cinder Wines, Clearwater Canyon Cellars, Fujishin Family Cellars, Hat Ranch Winery, Hells Canyon Winery, Huston Vineyards, Indian Creek Winery, Koenig Vineyards, Par Terre Winery, Parma Ridge Winery, Potter Wines, Sawtooth Winery, Split Rail Winery, Ste. Chapelle, Syringa Winery, Telaya Wine Co., Vizcaya Winery and Williamson Orchards and Vineyards. To get details on each party, visit the IWC's calendar at and choose "Thanksgiving Events" on the left sidebar.

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