If one word had to describe Coeur d’Alene Cellars’ attitude toward winemaking, it would probably be "meticulous." During each stage of creation, from vineyard selection and harvest to bottling, winemakers carefully supervise and adjust conditions to suit their visions. They hand-harvest fruit from their eastern Washington vineyards only on days that fit specific temperature conditions. Between pickings, the vines are pruned for low yields that concentrate flavor and quality. And their syrah and viognier grapes are both hand-sorted the night of harvest before they’re pressed and fermented.
That process is carefully controlled as well. Syrah blends first ferment in open-top vessels, allowing for closer management of color and tannins. Only later do they age inside French and American oak barrels, like former daredevils bent on reliving their trip over Niagara Falls. Viognier blends, on the other hand, spend both fermentation and aging periods in small oak barrels.
The resulting well-balanced wines can claim myriad accolades from publications such as Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Their 2004 Sarah’s cuvée viognier, for instance, earned 89 points from Wine Enthusiast, which praised its "good balance" of "peach, apricot, sour lemon candy and even a bit of cinnamon." Current vintages include the 2007 Alder Ridge Vineyard syrah, whose smooth body supports flavors of berries, vanilla, and cinnamon that conclude in a lingering finish.
These and other wines are poured at Coeur d'Alene's onsite wine bar, Barrel Room No. 6. Inside, sleek red walls help create an upscale vibe. Glasses perch beneath pendant lighting on the bar or glitter on top of old wine barrels repurposed as tables. As customers sip, knowledgeable wait staff can suggest ways to bring out the wines' subtle flavors by nibbling aromatic cheese pairings or the hem of a neighbor’s freshly laundered shirt.
"We had a customer, a good friend, who lost 100 pounds." Laura Heikkila beams as she tells the story. "She promised herself as soon as she got to that goal weight, she'd get a whole new wardrobe from the boutique as a reward," Laura says. "When she came in, we could see how excited she was. It was awesome." When Laura says "we," she's referring to her co-owner and best friend, Melissa Valdovinos. It was their mutual love of fashion that started the Smitten Clothing Boutique ball rolling. "We'd travel to California and go shopping, and our friends would be jealous," Laura explains. "So we were rollerblading and talking one day. We decided right there to bring some of Los Angeles here." Within the week, Laura and Melissa signed a lease on a place, but there was still one important thing left to do. "I was looking for a name, something catchy and one word. And then, I thought of smitten. It means, ‘to be in love with something.’" Smitten owes some of its success and foot traffic to its attachment to The Coeur d'Alene Resort, which boasts numerous awards including a spot on Travel + Leisure's list of 500 World's Best Hotels in 2009 and a five-star resort rating from Golf Digest. The other key to their success is their loyal clientele. "My mom shops here, and she's 72. But it's really all the regulars, stopping in weekly for the new styles." Laura's referring to the items she ships in from LA, including pieces from Rock Revival, Billabong, and LA Idol, a popular brand which often sells out within a week. During winter months, the duo helms shopping parties, such as Women Who Wine, and hosts fashion shows that benefit local charities. The two love helping people, both on and off the clock. "Taking someone who has no idea what to wear and helping them find their fashion, it's amazing. But the main thing is that Melissa and I love each other. And we have a lot of fun."
Family owned and run for more than 30 years, Seright's Ace Hardware blends the inviting ambience of a mom-and-pop store with the selection and expertise of a megatool powerhouse. The 18,000-square-foot Post Falls location sells paint, pet food and sundry services such as chainsaw sharpening and key cutting. An expert staff proffers assistance to customers overwhelmed by the rainbow's audaciously wide spectrum by introducing Benjamin Moore paint technology, which allows for digitally matched colors, creating new surface-adorning hues. Stihl chainsaws, Toro snow blowers, and other appliances fulfill the FDA’s daily power-tool recommendations, and the Post Falls location also offers small-engine repair.
Along with its array of seasonal snow and water skis, snowboards, and wakeboards, Island Ski and Board Shop bedecks summery shoppers in head-to-hanging-10 swimwear and sandwear for fashionable action shots on the store's water trampolines and towable inflatables. Authentic, surf-inspired Reef sandals ($20–$70) keep the sensitive soles of men, women, children, and unidirectionally pointed starfish off the scorching pavement. Reef also conceals skivvies with shirts and board shorts. Otherwise, promenade along the public pool in O'Neill swimwear for men and women ($35–$70). Sunglasses ($18–$200) by brands such as Kreed, Crush, VonZipper, and Oakley occlude oculi against glares from the sun, ocean, and staunch opponents of nude-eye beaches. Island Ski and Board Shop also supplies cement-surfers with longboards from Sector 9, Santa Cruz, Arbor, and Landyachtz.
The rider-owned-and-operated Coeur d'Alene Cycling & Fitness keeps cyclists and winter-sports enthusiasts moving smoothly in all seasons with complete bike and ski tune-ups. The shop's skilled technicians treat mountain planks to a thorough spiff up during ski tune-ups, as they stone-grind and sand bases and remove nicks, gouges, and unsightly third skis with a minor base restoration. A generous application of hot wax provides smooth sliding, and a side and base edging sharpens skis for maximum slope-shredding prowess.
Each day, the technicians at Cutting Edge Sharpening Service sharpen and restore knives with the help of precision equipment. In addition to knives, they sharpen items such as garden tools, hair clippers, and scissors, and their CNC sharpening machinery restores the razor-like edges of carbide-tipped saw blades. Patrons can bring their blades into the shop for service, or mail them in to be returned by shipping.