Co-op Business Partner Profile: Camas Prairie Winery

When the weather is nice, Jeremy Ritter, owner of Camas Prairie Winery, puts furniture outside in the fresh air where you can enjoy his excellent products. If you are looking for a great place to relax with a quality glass of wine or beer, stop by 110 South Main in Moscow, show your Co-op membership card, and get a 5% discount on anything he sells in the store.

Jeremy has been the owner of Camas Prairie Winery for about 4 1/2 years. Several years earlier Jeremy's neighbor in Deary, Marc Manni, sparked his interest in making wine. After a while, Marc asked Jeremy what he was doing to make his wine so different and Jeremy realized he had a special talent as a vintner. Sometime later Jeremy's dad in Colorado was talking to a driver as he off-loaded equipment. The driver's daughter attended the University of Idaho, and somehow during that conversation, Jeremy's dad learned that the Camas Prairie Winery in Moscow was for sale. Jeremy and his wife, Heidi, did some research, talked about the possibilities, and the next thing they knew, they owned a business.

It was a little nerve-racking to go from making 5 or 10 gallons at a time to making 300 to 500 gallons at a time. Jeremy wants it to be just right. You can have wineries that all pick from the same stock of grapes, but the product will all be different because of the wine maker's style. Jeremy's style leans toward less sweet wines. The company mead recipe went from being sweet and thick to being more of a casual sweet – lighter and crisper. Camas Prairie Winery is the only meadery in the state of Idaho.

The Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire at Bonney Lake orders five varieties of his mead for their festival each year. Jeremy also has partnered with St. Gertrude's Monastery in Cottonwood, Idaho to provide mead for their annual Raspberry Festival. He helped both groups create unique and attractive labels for their bottles. This year Jeremy has a booth at the Farmer's Market, now that the city has changed its regulations. This has helped him introduce his winery to a wider audience. He uses local products as much as possible in making his wines – such as locally picked wild plums, huckleberries, strawberries, and raspberries, and local honey and regional grapes.

Over the course of the 32 years Camas Prairie Winery has been in business they have won over 60 medals. Jeremy himself has won 8 medals for his creations, including Best Beverage on the Palouse in 2013 and the 2013 Best Dessert Wine at the Idaho Wine Competition. To learn more about Camas Prairie Winery, visit their website: http://camasprairiewinery.com/

Terri enjoys the relaxed summer months on the Palouse and hopes to see many of you out and about downtown supporting our wonderful local businesses.