Celebrate Autumn with Local Wine Tasting and Regional Festivals

“We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass of wine.” – Eduardo Galeano

The grape harvest season ushers in fall and many opportunities to enjoy a glass of wine with friends and family. Stop by some of our local wineries to celebrate this year’s harvest or pick up a few bottles of your favorites and host a wine tasting party of your own!

Wine Tastings and Festivals

Worden’s Market in Missoula offers Thursday wine tasting from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. in La Grotta Bella on a drop in basis for $10.00 per person. The fee is deducted from your purchase of a case of wine.

Stop by Lake Missoula Cellars on Friday evenings at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) for live music and a selection of wines to sample. The tasting room is also open from noon to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Lake Missoula Cellars produces several different brands: Lake Missoula Cellars, ClearWeather Wines, Rock Creek and Dancing Ram. Lake Missoula Cellars is located just off of Airway Boulevard at 5646 W. Harrier in Missoula.  Call (406) 541-8463 for directions or more information.

Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery on Rattlesnake Drive in Missoula is looking forward to opening a downtown tasting room in the future; in the meantime, individual tours and tasting can be arranged with winemaker Andy Sponseller. If you really want to get into the action, you can join in the fall harvest and grape stomping at the end of September or early October, depending upon the weather.  For more information about individual tours, tasting, or participating in the grape stomp, call the winery at (406) 549-8703 and talk to Connie Poten.

Ten Spoon’s Cherry Dessert Wine is light and sweet. A chocolate lover’s tip:  Dip the rim of your wine glass (just one side) in melted, dark chocolate and sip this delicate wine “through” the chocolate.  It’s like sipping on a chocolate covered cherry – dessert all by itself!

Lolo Peak Winery offers wine tasting from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  Try their Apple and Honey wine served warm with mulling spices – mmm, apple cobbler in a mug. Lolo Peak Winery is located at the corner of Mount and Reserve in Missoula.

Hidden Legend Winery, formerly the Trapper Creek Winery, specializes in Mead wines, also known as “honeywines.” Winemaker Ken Schultz uses 100% Montana-made honey to handcraft a pure honey mead, a dark mead, three berry meads, and a spiced mead.  He and his wife Lisa, just moved the tasting room to a new 3,000 square foot facility four miles south of Victor, Montana in the Sheafman Creek Plaza located at 1345 Highway 93. The tasting room is open for tours and samples from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call (406) 363-6323 for more information.

Travel a little farther south on 93 to visit Trapper Peak Winery to sample their American Rodeo Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah, and Zinfandel, or the American Syrah, created from grapes grown on the north slope of Mount St. Helen’s. Call (406) 821-1964 for more information.

Feel like venturing a little farther from home?  There are a variety of wine-focused events coming up:

Santa Fe Chile and Wine Fiesta (September 24 – 28, Santa Fe, NM): Over 90 wineries from regions all over the world are featured along with dozens of local restaurants serving up their finest pairings.
Montana Master Chefs (October 9 – 12, Greenough, MT): The Resort at Paws Up offers an intimate experience with three world-class chefs preparing tasting dinners. During the day, chefs will either put on a two-hour cooking seminar or host an outdoor adventure.
Lake Chelan Crush Festival (first and second weekends of October, Lake Chelan, WA): Tour local wineries and participate in an old-fashion grape stomp.
Northwest Food and Wine Festival (November 15, Portland, OR): More than 600 wines and 50 restaurants are showcased along with silent auction and live entertainment.

Wherever you choose to imbibe, there is something to warm everyone’s soul. Cheers!

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