PARMA — The new owners of Parma Ridge Wine and Spirits hope the vineyard’s theme will be joy — joy that comes with good wine, good food and celebration among friends and family.
The quiet location outside Parma is surrounded by a backdrop of blue skies, rows of grape vines and full apple trees. Storm and Stephanie Hodge plan to open in early July.
The couple has had a longtime dream of owning a winery, and Parma Ridge seemed like the perfect opportunity. Storm is a chef, and Stephanie is a painter.
The couple moved from Washington, but Storm is an Idaho native, coming from a farming family.
“The people are amazing here,” said Storm Hodge. “The locals have a real sense of ownership with this (vineyard).”
He spent more than a year working with the owner of Bartholomew Winery in Seattle, learning to make wine. He was also the director of dining at University of Washington for 10 years.
The property, at 24509 Rudd Road, was once an apple orchard before it was transformed into a vineyard, previously owned by Dick Dickstein, who began producing wine in the ‘90s.
The nine-and-a-half acre vineyard, which included about 4,500 vines, sold for $549,000. The original asking price was $1 million.
Storm Hodge said the previous owner has agreed to help with the vineyard during the first year.
“What makes us unique is that we are both a vineyard and a winery,” Stephanie Hodge said.
The winemaker under whom Storm Hodge trained did not grow his own grapes.
Planned renovations at Parma Ridge Wine and Spirits will include a wine-tasting room, a distillery and full kitchen, including a wood-fire pizza oven. A hilltop patio and seating area will be added, overlooking the vineyard.
‘BOUNTY OF THE VALLEY’
Storm Hodge will put his experience as a chef to use with plans to pair a variety of foods with wine tasting and offer in-house catering for events.
“I’m also really looking forward to using the bounty of the valley (in recipes),” Storm Hodge. “Fresh produce and fresh meats.”
The couple hopes it will serve as a location for outdoor wedding receptions and events. The idea of a winery wedding does hold some sentimental value to the couple — they married in 2009 at a Washington vineyard.
FROST DAMAGE PRESENTED CHALLENGE FOR VINEYARD
Ownership of the new vineyard has come with challenges. In November, frost damaged about 90 percent of the grapes to be used for red wine making. The roots remain, but it will take time for new grapes to be ready for use in wine.
The vineyard’s white wine grapes survived, and this summer they will be serving Bartholomew red wines until Parma Ridge red grapes are ready.
Eventually they hope to distill liqueurs, vodka and flavored moonshine at the location, as well.
Stephanie Hodge has created several oil on canvas impressionistic and modern paintings of the vineyard that will be put on display for sale at Parma Ridge Wine and Spirits when they open. Her paintings are created under the name Stephanie Lindsey.
“I’m really looking forward to being deeply involved and deeply rooted in this community,” Storm Hodge said.