Telaya Wine Co. set to move alongside Boise River

By on April 3, 2015
Earl and Carrie Sullivan of Telaya Wine Co., plan to break ground June 1 on their new winemaking facility along the Boise River in Garden City, Idaho.

Earl and Carrie Sullivan of Telaya Wine Co., plan to break ground June 1 on their new winemaking facility along the Boise River in Garden City, Idaho. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Flynn/Red Sky PR)

GARDEN CITY, Idaho — Earl and Carrie Sullivan of Telaya Wine Co., will announce today that they have completed a deal to build a winery and tasting room next to the Boise River and the Riverside Hotel in this bedroom community of the Idaho state capital.

“It’s been surreal,” Earl Sullivan told Great Northwest Wine. “This is a huge opportunity for Telaya with the largest hotel in the state of Idaho as our next-door neighbor and people being able to use the Greenbelt as an avenue to bike to our winery.

“This will fit in with everything that’s happening in Garden City around the wine and craft beverage industry, and the city officials have been wildly supportive of us moving to this location,” Sullivan added.

Riverside Hospitality member Kristen Jensen said via email, “Riverside Hospitality, LLC is extremely pleased to welcome Telaya Wine Co. to The Riverside Hotel’s campus. The synergy created between the two companies will bring additional tourism to the area and strengthen Garden City’s position as Idaho’s Craft Beverage Corridor. We couldn’t ask for a better neighbor!”

Sullivan, 43, who declined to disclose the price of the project, said he hopes to break ground by June 1. Telaya will take over the Riverside Hotel’s little-used western parking lot, a stone’s throw from the Boise River.

“I’m really hopeful that people will be excited about the possibilities of a facility on the river as well as the opportunity to ride their bike and have a glass of wine,” he said.

Wine Press Northwest magazine honors Telaya Wine Co.

Telaya Wine is in Garden City, Idaho.

Telaya Wine has shared a winemaking facility in Garden City with Cinder and Coiled wineries. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Last month, Telaya Wine Co., was named as Wine Press Northwest magazine’s 2015 Idaho Winery to Watch. Their 11,000-square-foot project will allow them to double their annual production to 5,000 cases.

It will be a short move for the Sullivans. Most of Telaya’s wines have been made in Garden City at the 44th Street production facility owned by Joe Schnerr and Melanie Krause of Cinder Wines. Both brands also shared cellar space and the tasting gallery with Leslie Preston’s Coiled Wines, and the success of all three wineries prompted Telaya’s gamble along the Boise Greenbelt.

“Cinder has big plans for growth, and Joe and Mel and I agreed in August of last year that I needed to be the one to move out,” Sullivan said. “We’re the next-largest, so us moving is the logical solution. Joe and Mel have been great about this all the way through.”

2015 production moves to Wine Boss in Richland, Wash.

Washington Malbec

Charlie Hoppes is owner of Fidelitas Wines. His Wine Boss facility in Richland, Wash., also oversees production for many wineries, including Telaya Wine Co. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Sullivan, a Kentucky native who moved to Boise with Carrie, a veterinary surgeon, about 15 years ago, said it’s doubtful Telaya’s new home will be ready in time for the 2015 harvest. Recent vintages have seen about 20 percent of the Telaya wines have been made from some of the Columbia Valley’s top vineyards in Richland, Wash., at acclaimed winemaker Charlie Hoppes’ Wine Boss facility.

Hoppes confirmed plans that all Telaya’s wines from the 2015 vintage will be made at Wine Boss, which also is the production facility for Hoppes’ award-winning Fidelitas brand on Red Mountain.

Negotiations between Riverside Hospitality and Telaya began last fall, Sullivan said. The Sullivans negotiated a controlling stake in the property, and Telaya will remain solely owned by the husband-and-wife winemaking team, he said.

“They don’t own any part of the winery,” Sullivan said. “It will be a symbiotic relationship, and Carrie and I believe it will be a good use of the underdeveloped part of their campus.”

Work on Telaya’s vinification facility and tasting room will be performed by Treasure Valley businesses. Cornel Larson of Larson Architects did the design work. The contractor is Bill Mooney of Jordan-Wilcomb Construction. Sullivan said financing was made possible by Mike Mooney at Bank of the Cascades and Ann Munroe of Capital Matrix, a Small Business Administration lender.

“We haven’t celebrated yet,” Sullivan said. “There’s a long road ahead of us, including getting ready for harvest.”

Telaya to welcome Boise Greenbelt cyclists

Boise residents Earl and Carrie Sullivan make wine in Washington's Columbia Valley and Idaho's Snake River Valley for Telaya Wine Co.

Boise residents Earl and Carrie Sullivan make wine in Washington’s Columbia Valley and Idaho’s Snake River Valley for Telaya Wine Co. (Photo courtesy of Telaya Wine Co.)

According to Sullivan, the collaboration with Telaya is another step in the transformation of the Riverside Hotel.

Telaya is an Idaho winery that produces wines using Washington grapes. This is a delicious red blend of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.“They’ve been wanting to take the Riverside back to where it once was — the destination hotel of the region,” Sullivan said. “They’ve added the Sandbar Patio Bar and Grill, live music and brought in convention business. For the last three years, they’ve been our No. 1 trade account, so we’ve had a long-term relationship and wondering how Telaya could partner with the hotel.”

Sullivan said he plans to incorporate the “industrial chic” look into some of Telaya’s architecture, however he doesn’t want to distract from the natural landscape of the Greenbelt.

“We’ve got the riverfront and the foothills right in front of us, so we want to integrate with the environment as much as we can,” he said.

One nearby resident who got a look at the design during the public review process issued concern about bright lights, potential noise and landscaping. Sullivan said he plans to be responsible with all three areas.

“We’re a tasting room, not a bar,” he said. “There will be some events there, surely, because it’s a great place, but we’re primarily a wine production facility.”

And yet, guests at Telaya will be able to order off a small menu available from the Riverside — either the hotel kitchen or its pool-side Sandbar — and have the food delivered to their table along the Greenbelt.

“People can buy a bottle of wine, sit on the patio and have something to eat,” he said. “And since they don’t have to cross a public street, they can take the bottle of wine back to their hotel room.”

Sullivan estimates it will take less than 10 minutes for wine lovers to ride their bikes between the 44th Street wineries, which include Split Rail and Syringa, and Telaya’s new home on 32nd Street across from the new Esther Simplot Park.

“We plan on having a large number of bike racks at the facility, and the whitewater park couldn’t be more than 100 yards from our front door,” he said. “There’s a lot of effort by Garden City and Boise to develop that West Boise corridor into a work-and-live area.”

The Sullivans, who are raising their two young boys in Boise community of Hidden Springs, named their winery (pronounced tuh-LIE-uh) by blending two of their favorite places — the Teton Range and playa, the Spanish word for beach. This deal would seem to be another dream come true.

“It is the ideal location for making and selling wine,” Sullivan said. “If we can’t make it work at this location, then we can’t make it.”

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.


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