WAM, a 501(c)6 trade association, began in 2020 to help steer the future of the wine industry in Montana. It is made up entirely of Montana wineries which produce (crush, ferment, age) and bottle wine in Montana, in order to support those wineries and celebrate wines grown and produced in Montana.
Montana vineyards and orchards can produce grapes and other fruit that can stand the rugged cold winters and moderate summers we have in Montana. The grapes are mostly hybrids from the University of Minnesota, and hybrids from private breeders like Tom Plocher in Minnesota and the late, great Elmer Swenson of Wisconsin. We're also hopeful about some new super hardy cultivars being developed by North Dakota State University.
Montana wineries make sweet and dry wines from grapes, and from a wide assortment of other fruits like apples, pears, plums, cherries, currants, chokecherries, rhubarb, haskaps (edible honeysuckle) and more. WAM strongly encourages its member wineries to take advantage of Montana grown fruit to increase the agricultural base of small-fruit and orchard fruit growing in Montana and to enlarge our wine industry here.
Meet Our Team
Larry and his wife Cindy started Flathead Lake Winery in Polson, MT in 2017, Larry has made wine for 50 years. Larry recently retired from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service after 36+ years, the last 15 specializing in orchards and vineyards in Montana. He is a founding member of the MT Grape and Wine Association established in 2014 and established the Winery Association of Montana to help promote the Montana grown wine industry.
Bob and his wife,Marilyn and son, Josh began Tongue River Vineyard & Winery in Miles City, MT in 201o where Bob produces wine from their three acres of hybrid grapes and other native and unusual fruits. Bob is also the President of the Montana Grape and Wine Association, which focusses on education in conjunction with MSU's Western Ag Research Station at Corvallis, MT. Bob has been making wine for over 50 years and is a charter member of both the MT Grape and Wine Association and WAM.
After 25 years in Hospitality, Food and Beverage, Brian studied Wine Business, Accounting and Economics and his wife, Roxann studied Viticulture and Enology at Washington State University. They own Willow Mountain Estate Vineyard & Winery in Corvallis, Montana. Brian serves on the MT Grape and Wine Association board of directors and also stewards a grant with the MT Dept. of Agriculture specialty Crops program to develop a marketing plan for the Montana wine industry. Brian is a charter member of WAM.
At Large Member
Dan and his wife Rebecca grew up in Columbia Falls, and finally returned home after running a mobile wine bottling business in California for many years. Now they built and own White Raven Winery which opened in late 2020 Just 14 minutes from Glacier Park, where they manufacture wines made from Montana grapes and select grapes from the West Coast.