Formerly known as Pintler Cellars, the winery was founded in 1987 in Idaho’s Snake River Valley. The estate vineyards surrounding Sawtooth Winery were once rich pastures owned by Charles Pintler. The Pintlers saw a greater potential in the steep, south sloping hills, and set out to grow wine grapes. Known for Riesling, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Merlot and Tempranillo, the winery—and Idaho--have gained increasing national acclaim with winemaker Bill Murray leading its program.
- Crush capacity: 436 tons
- Total production capability: 24,000 cases
- Barrel capacity: 2,550
- Fermentation tanks: 24 (48,000 gallon), also 550, 350 and open tops
- Two 5,000-liter presses: Europress EHP 5000 and Willmes UP5000
- Mobile bottling line
- Cross-flow filtration for more gentle and efficient wine filtration
Unique production tools:
- Sloped bottom red fermenters for safe and efficient emptying of red wine fermentations
- Reverse osmosis water system, unique for Idaho wineries
- Three barrel rooms that are both humidity- and temperature-controlled
Best Practices used to achieve consistent quality:
- Cellar and bottling maintenance and QC program features standard operating procedures that ensure highest quality and consistency of products.
- In-house laboratory analysis for a range of standard specifications and diagnostics without the lost time of outsourcing.
- Orion Wine Software allows our winemaking team to issue and track work orders
Long-term plans to continue improving quality:
- Work with our growers to maximize the quality of fruit coming to the winery
- Key in on new research continually updated from the University of Idaho/USDA in the Sawtooth Vineyard experimental blocks.
- Addition of French oak barrels for reserve wines (previously American oak)
Strengths of the production team:
- A small but versatile workforce: cellar master, assistant and lead winemaker.
- Winemaker Bill Murray brings nearly 20 years of experience working across a variety of winemaking styles and facilities; he joined Sawtooth in Jan. 2009.