Rizen was recently approached by Hailey Minder, Assistant Winemaker, at Telaya Wine to write a guest blog piece. We welcomed her insight and prospective and hope you enjoy her point of view on how work can affect more than just the client.
If you are from Idaho and have spent any amount of time outside of the Northwest United States you know a certain refrain well. You meet someone and start polite conversation which leads to the obvious question, “Where are you from?” Your reply is never a specific town or a broad region, it is your home state, “Idaho.” No matter who asks the question it is always the same ultra-witty response of “Oooooohhh… the Potato State!” Yep, never heard that one before, so clever.
Few people know we are actually the “gem state” and just happen to have “famous potatoes,” but even fewer people realize we have some truly amazing industries outside of our lumpy brown agricultural mainstay. No matter how many great discoveries are made, commodities produced, or species saved in Idaho, they will all take a back seat to the tubers that made us famous, and because of that instead of getting upset about the constant refrain, we should embrace it and sometimes take ourselves a little less seriously.
Rizen Creative has a fun and witty way of getting points across, they also tend to be honest and forthright. In the past few years they have worked with the Idaho Wine Commission on several projects, two of which are great short movies that help explain the phenomena of being from “the potato state” as well as introduce the fact that Idaho does wine as well as it does potatoes.
At Telaya, what we find interesting is how helping one underdog – the Idaho Wine Commission – find their voice and a fun way to express what they stand for, Rizen has impacted our entire Idaho wine industry. Of course the video brings awareness to the Idaho Wine Industry, more traffic to the commission’s site, more interest in trying some awesome wines; but Rizen has also caused many wineries to reconsider how serious we are about a product that, let’s face it, is really fun. We have fought so long and hard following other peoples rules about how wine should be perceived and stuffy ideas about how wine can be enjoyed, that we started to lose sight of why we started making wine and how much fun we have doing it.
Most Idaho Wineries are a true Idahoan’s spot. Laid back ownership, honing a craft that is extremely finicky and sometimes exasperating, while completely worth the effort (sound like potato farming or agriculture in general to anyone?). While we all want to strive to make exquisite wines, I think most people would also remember they want to enjoy doing it and as a short second want to show other people how fun and wonderful the process is.
The next time you have wine (and hopefully after reading this article it will be an Idaho wine…) in your glass, or mug, or mason jar, hold it up for just a second and think of all the laughter, silliness, hard work, and Idahoan heart that went into that glass.
Oh, and if you’re looking for something to pair it with, we all love potatoes too.
Hailey is a fourth generation Idahoan. She lives in Boise with her husband who is an Idaho River Guide, and their dog. Her favorite Idaho wine is Telaya Syrah and favorite potato recipe is twice baked potatoes. When she isn’t making wine in the great state, you can find her exploring the many, many acres of back country throughout Idaho.