When you are passionate about what you do, it cannot help but come through in your work. This is exactly what you will find when you experience Pend d’Oreille Winery in Sandpoint. Owned by Steve and Julie Meyer, Pend d’Oreille Winery is celebrating 21 years of providing not only award-winning wine, but food, entertainment and gifts at its Downtown Sandpoint location.
Steve Meyer discovered his love for wine when he traveled to Europe in 1985. “Julie and I had a rendezvous in Meursault, which is located in Burgundy. Low and behold, I discovered winemaking,” shares Steve. “It was a real treat to be in that environment where all the winemaking decisions were being made.” Six months later, Steve returned to the U.S. and immediately began to look for work in Santa Cruz, California, where he worked his way from vineyard assistant to assistant winemaker over a 10-year term.
The couple’s passion for winemaking grew, and 10 years later Steve and Julie opened Pend d’Oreille Winery in Julie’s hometown of Sandpoint.
According to Steve, the most challenging part of winemaking is keeping pace with America’s changing palate. “As winemakers, we must recognize those changes and make wines that attract that palate,” says Steve.
Being environmentally conscientious is also important. “The refillable bottle is one of the ways in which we are providing customers a way to minimize their impact they have on the environment. Every month we refill about 600 bottles of wine!” he says.
Their grapes are grown primarily in the Columbia River Basin with the white grapes harvested in Southern Idaho. “Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are our biggest sellers, but we also produce Pinot Gris, Albarino and Riesling in the whites. Our reds include Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Mouvedre and Mablec,” Steve says.
But it is much more than wine that is offered at Pend d’Oreille Winery; there is music and food that complete the experience that so many have come to love.
In addition to their tasting room menu, there is also the adjoining restaurant, The Bistro Rouge, located in the landmark building which the Meyers completely restored and rebuilt. The food, which is locally sourced when possible, includes their cheese and meat board, which is one of their more popular tasting room menu items.
Throughout the year, Pend d’Oreille Winery hosts wine dinners that are primarily organized by Chef Stefhanie and her crew. “We also like to do a spread of Pend d’Oreille wines in the spring,” Steve adds. “We generally seat about 40 people in the dining room, and it is met enthusiastically with broad agreement of excellence from the crowd.”
Entertainment plays a large part in the Pend d’Oreille Winery experience. Live music on weekends, including popular musicians Bridges Home, One Street Over and Britchy, draws large crowds.
When you go, be sure to visit the winery’s gift shop where you can find wonderful items that include logoed wine glasses and wine openers, clothing and items for the table that everyone will talk about well into their next meal.
If you are looking for a place to host a party, Pend d’Oreille Winery can host up to 150 people. Contact Chef Stefhanie and Little Jenn to help you plan what is sure to be an excellent time.
Pend d’Oreille Winery
301 Cedar St.