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Fruit of the Vine

It's a classic case of what's in a name -- and it's the "name" of the game in the $22 billion wine industry.

Napa, Sonoma, Willamette Valley, Lodi -- all AVA, or appellations. There are 236 in the United States: federally designated "unique" viticulture regions. If you get one, you put it on your label, and the price on that bottle of Pinot Noir goes up by a couple of bucks.

The newest "appellation" in the wine business is the Snake River Valley -- in Idaho! The place where potatoes were king is now on the leading edge of the expanding U.S. wine industry. While the better-known American 'valley' appellations dominate the shelves across the country, the new ones, like Snake River, will be the ones taking the U.S. business forward through the next century.

St. Chapelle Winery in Treasure Valley, Idaho is the leader of that state's wine business -- over 160,000 cases last year, double or triple its nearing competitor. A world-class maker of Riesling, Idaho is also the best place in North America for 'ice wine' -- wine made immediately after that initial, quick freeze -- the grapes are crushed and the result after-dinner or dessert wine is stunning.

The 'Snake River Valley' appellation -- look for it.

You can see more about the Idaho wine industry and visit the St. Chapelle Winery on 'On The Money' with 'Mike On America' on Tuesday night, 7 p.m ET.

Enjoy!

Questions? Comments? mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com