Camels Crossing store front

Raise a Glass to the Underdogs

Camel’s Crossing works to highlight organic, biodynamic, and women-run wineries

Lex Nelson

Food & Wine reported in March that out of the more than 3,700 wineries in California, just 10 percent have women as head winemakers. California-based Wine & Vines put out even less promising figures on organic grapes, reporting that just 5 percent of the world’s vineyard acreage is used to grow them. Biodynamic wineries, a subset of organic that follows an even stricter eco-friendly rulebook, account for an even slimmer percentage of acreage. All this is to say, Boise wine bar Camel’s Crossing’s mission to highlight wines in these three categories is a rare thing indeed.

Brad Mosell, the wine bar’s general manager and newly appointed wine buyer, said that dedicating a percentage of the the wine list to these underdogs is a purposeful move.

“It’s an extension of our commitment to regional and sustainable production,” Mosell said. “We want the wine program to reflect [that] as best it can.”

Camel’s Crossing is already known for that commitment in its food; Executive Chef Christian Phernetton grows much of the eatery’s produce on two of his own biodynamic-inspired farms, and does his best to keep the rest of his sourcing hyper-local. And although sourcing wines that are both world-class and entirely local is impossible, Mosell said his focus on certain demographics works toward the same ethic.

“We want to extend our impact where were can,” he explained, but added that, “Good bottles are first and foremost. These ethical claims don’t preclude a quality experience.”

While servers point out wines from organic, biodynamic, and women-owned wineries to guests, they aren’t currently highlighted on the menu. That’s something Mosell said he plans to change in the next month, which will be his third in the buyer’s position.

Right now, the list curated by past wine buyer Karlee Stagg includes these standout bottles:

  • Tikal Natural Malbec-Syrah 2014, from Mendoza, Argentina (organic and biodynamic)
  • Langetwins Winery “Caricature” Red Blend 2015, from Acampo, California (organic, woman-run, and certified “green”)
  • Twelve Pinot Noir 2015, from the Yamhill-Carlton in Oregon (grown with the organic method, but not certified)
  • Cinder Wines Laissez Faire Red 2016, from Garden City, Idaho (woman winemaker)
  • Telaya Sruth Red Blend 2015, from the Yakima Valley in Washington (woman winemaker)
  • Lumos “Rudolfo” Logsdon Ridge Pinot Gris 2015, from the Willamette Valley in Oregon (organic and salmon safe)

By highlighting these unique offerings, which appear alongside classic choices on Camel’s Crossing’s menu, Mosell said he hopes to encourage guests to put just a bit more thought into their orders.

“We’re trying to make it easier for people to identify and try these wines,” he said. “…to make it easier for people to be good.”

Potential diners can browse the wine bar’s full selection on the Camels Crossing website.