With gasoline prices keeping summer travelers closer to home, southern Idahoans are taking advantage of nearby retreats such as Carmela Vineyards in Glenns Ferry.
Originally founded in 1988, Carmela has become a preferred destination for couples, family reunions, weddings, business conferences, and many other special events. Just 60 miles from Twin Falls, Carmela Vineyards is an inclusive retreat featuring fine wine, golf, upscale dining, and overnight accommodations within walking distance of Three Island State Park.
“It’s a very easy getaway,” says winemaker Neil Glancey.
Winery. Carmela’s award-winning wines are made with only Idaho grapes. From Merlot to Chardonnay, Carmela’s selection is perfect for any meal or occasion. The tasting room is open daily; winery tours are every Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
Carmela hosts several events throughout the year, including the popular Harvest Festival with grape stomping and live music (September 22). Another exciting time is during harvest in September and October when the public can watch the workers crush and press grapes on the deck adjacent to the restaurant. Carmela produces about 120 thousand bottles of wine each year. Check Carmela’s website for its calendar of events.
Restaurant. For the past five years, lead chef Hilda Reyes has been instrumental in making Carmela the place to go for upscale dining. Geri Gumb has been the restaurant manager for over 10 years and is responsible for the charming atmosphere, and she also coordinates special events. With a vast menu, Carmela is known for its prime rib. New York steaks, halibut, salmon and pasta dishes are also favorites. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. for lunch (perfect for golfers). Dinner is served after 4 p.m. Reservations are not required, but are a good idea – especially on the weekend.
Carmela’s popular Winemakers Dinner is hosted quarterly, with the next scheduled for August 18. These special 7-course dinners are held inside the cellar and are limited to the first 70 reservations. The $75 meal has a different theme each time and includes a wine carefully matched for each course.
“We pour a lot of wine and they are really fun,” Glancey says. “In February, we had a Mardi Gras theme so everybody dressed up in masks and beads. We flew in fresh sea bass for the night and we had outstanding food. It’s really a chance for our chefs to show off.”
Golf. Why not make a day of it? Before enjoying a meal and sampling fine wines, play a round of golf on the unique Vineyard Greens 9-hole, par-34 course. A driving range and practice
green are also available. Cost is $12 for nine holes and $23 for 18. Call for tee times.
Cabins and RV Park. Open year-round, Carmela can accommodate any size RV with full hookups, grass and trees for $20.00 per night. Or, stay in one of Carmela’s new cabins or camping trailers, for just $89.95 per night. Call for reservations.
Carmela Vineyards & Golf Course
795 W. Madison Glenns Ferry, ID 83623