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Women Get Update on Ellsworth Inn Along with White Wine Tutorial
Zions Bank turned into a place to Mix and Mingle when members of the Wood River Women’s Foundation showed up.
Saturday, June 8, 2024


Members of the Wood River Women’s Foundation got to kill two birds with one Meet and Mingle this past week.

They got to hear how one of their grants was being used to provide affordable housing in Hailey.

And they got a White Wines of the World wine tasting tutorial from Angela Baron, a wine associate with Albertsons.

S&C’s Chris Bender, Chase Hamilton and Angela Baron poured white wines for members of the Wood River Women’s Foundation at their May Mix and Mingle.

It all took place in the Ketchum branch of Zions Bank, which hosted the event with the help of Branch Manager Jackie Cole.

Michelle Griffith, executive director of ARCH Community Housing Trust, thanked the women for awarding her organization a $25,000 grant during its last grant cycle to help ARCH Community Housing Trust refurbish the historic Ellsworth Inn for workforce housing.

The City of Hailey proposed that the City of Sun Valley purchase the three-story 4,800-square foot Ellsworth Inn two years ago after learning that the inn and its land was for sale. The inn was built in the early 1900s and, while not on the National Register of Historic Buildings, it is considered of historic importance.

The City of Sun Valley purchased the property across the street from the Senior Connection and Hailey Fire Department for $2.3 million in February 2023.

Backhoes worked on the street outside as Michelle Griffith told how ARCH acquires lands and homes for those of low- to moderate income.

“This has never happened before in the history of our valley—two city governments coming together to work on a project like this,” said Griffith.

The Ellsworth Inn started as a single-family home before transitioning into a bed and breakfast, said Giffith. New plans call for a one-bedroom caretaker’s unit that will be finished in July, six 1-bedroom apartments in the inn, two 4-bedroom dwellings and 10 three-bedroom cottages. All but the apartments will have detachable garages.

The City of Sun Valley has asked for four of the 19 units for its workforce. The rest are available to other workers in the community who meet income requirements. To learn more, visit

The City of Sun Valley is retaining ownership of the two acres the project sits on, leasing it to ARCH for 99 years.

The Ellsworth Inn had a pleasing historical flavor for the Blaine County Heritage Court and other gatherings.

Griffith said refurbishing the facility is more cost effective and environmentally friendly than tearing it down and building a new building. In addition to refurbishing the building, Building Materials Thrift Store and Barkin’ took the furniture, linen and other items, recycling them through their second-hand stores.

“It took all day to go through the things, and they were so happy to have donations because it was that time of the year after the holidays when their shelves were depleted and no one was going through their closets,” Griffith said.

Griffith thanked the women for their work in which they pool philanthropic dollars and vet applicants in order to determine what projects can best benefit the community.

“You may not realize how much impact you have on the community,” she said. “The grant you made to us assures others that this is a project worth doing and that it has a high likelihood of success.”

Wood River Women’s Foundation Sandy McCullough and Leslie Silva address women at the May Mix and Mingle.

Following Griffith’s presentation, Angela Barron took members on a whirlwind history of white wine, as she poured such varietals as Koenig’s Viogner, Laurent Perrier’s Blanc de Blancs Brut, Three Sticks’ Head High Chardonnay, Louis Latour’s Pouilly Fuisse and Famille Perrin’s Blanc Cotes du Rhone Reserve.

The history of white wine is actually believed to have begun in Iran around 3500 B.C.

Champagne, she said, was created in the 18th century and was promoted by the crowned heads of Europe in their courts. Talleyrand even offered it at the negotiating table of the Congress of Vienna to relax those seated.

It wasn’t until 1979, however, that Trefethen Family Vineyards chardonnay put California chardonnay—and Napa Valley-- on the map when it upset more than 300 entries from 33 countries at the Gault-Millau Wine Olympics in Paris, claiming the title of World’s Best Chardonnay.


Silvercreek Outfitters will donate 15 percent of all sales from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today—Saturday, June 8—to the Wood River Women’s Foundation.

Libations will be served while shoppers scout for summer fishing gear, clothing and jewelry.

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