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Old Posted Jul 6, 2007, 2:34 PM
Cottonwood Cottonwood is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boise
Posts: 4,451
Polo Cove a New Winery "Resort" and Truffle Farm development near Caldwell

Watch out Napa Valley

July 06, 2007
Unique development takes shape
Canyon P&Z hears plans for hotel, eateries, winery
If all goes well for developer Glenn Mosell, the first part of his Polo Cove vision — a winery, hotel, restaurant, private bungalows and truffle farm southwest of Caldwell — will move from paper to reality by the end of 2008. So far, so good. Earlier this week, an East Coast boutique hotel group signed on to be part of the development near the Snake River in the heart of Canyon County’s wine country. Ten thousand trees, inoculated with the appropriate fungus to grow truffles, are on order as part of a new crop to be introduced on the land. Designs are in the works for the first 300 acres of the 1,600-acre property that Mosell envisions as a unique tourist destination as well as a country neighborhood. And on Thursday, Mosell and others involved in the development presented their plan for the first 300-acres to the Canyon County Planning and Zoning Commission, the first step in getting permission to start construction. About 60 people attended the hearing, but none will have an opportunity to testify until July 19, when the hearing continues. Twenty people signed up to testify in favor of the development, and eight who signed up said they were neutral; no one signed up to speak against the request for a conditional-use permit. Thursday’s meeting focused Polo Cove partners’ presentation of their plans In an interview earlier Thursday, Mosell said the first phase of Polo Cove is expected to have a $40 million economic impact on Canyon County and the surrounding area during construction, but he would not speculate on the cost of the project. Polo Cove is the brainchild of Mosell, an Eagle resident who approached Canyon County winery owner and agriculture researcher Ron Bitner, Boise chef and restaurant owner John Berryhill and Eagle entrepreneur and developer Paul Beckman for support and buy-in two years ago. One of the keys to Polo Cove’s planning was to retain the agricultural productivity of the area and develop new applications, such as truffle-farming and table grapes, partners said. The original land purchase included 160 acres of vineyards, and the wine-themed project grew from that, Mosell said. Bitner owns 10 acres in the middle of the property and was among a group of growers who planted vines on the Polo Cove site in 1981. A winery has been an integral part of the Polo Cove plan from the beginning, Bitner said. “Thirty tons of grapes were unpicked last year on the existing 160 acres of vineyards,” he said. Most were red grapes; the white Riesling and Chardonnay grapes are mostly sold to Ste. Chapelle Winery and will continue to be sold to the winery. The winery will have a grape-crushing facility for growers who don’t have equipment and for up-and-coming winemakers to launch their businesses. “We want the winery to be neutral territory so (winemakers and vineyard owners) will come and sit on that porch and share notes,” Mosell said. Educating winemakers and grape growers is a priority, Bitner said, but educating the public about agriculture is just as important for Polo Cove’s planned wine education center. Polo Cove also will work on creating organic vineyards, he said. Lifestyle Hospitality out of Stamford, Conn., plans to create a hotel concept for Polo Cove featuring private cottages with access to resort and spa services as well as Berryhill’s restaurant. Guests won’t see a traditional hotel building but will work with a host to plan their visit. Paul Cooper, senior vice president of development for Lifestyle, said in an e-mail that the hotel will be upscale and designed “to capture the uniqueness and beauty of Canyon County and the Snake River Valley.” Truffles will be among the new crops introduced to the area, said Paul Beckman, a partner in Polo Cove. Soil in southwestern Idaho is ideal to grow truffles, he said, and less water is needed to grow the prized fungus than originally believed. Chef Berryhill’s involvement is another key ingredient to Polo Cove, Mosell said. The restaurant will be centrally located with views of the Snake River Valley and Owyhee Mountains. The food will be “casual gourmet,” he said. Berryhill said he is excited about the project, seeing it as another opportunity to be creative and highlight locally grown foods in his menu. The restaurant and catering service is expected to be housed in a 7,500 square-foot building at Polo Cove. Plans call for Berryhill’s of Polo Cove to cater weddings and host events at the site, including concerts. “What sparked my interest was the wine country,” Berryhill said, saying the site could grow to be a wine-tourism attraction similar to Walla Walla, Wash. or Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Mosell sees Polo Cove as an anchor for Idaho’s emerging wine country: “It will anchor the food, wine and the arts.” For Berryhill and the other partners, the development is more than one person’s dream. “Polo Cove is about putting the best of the best together to spearhead the whole Valley’s future direction,” said Berryhill. Vickie D. Ashwill: 373-6691
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