Sunday, June 05, 2011

Flathead Lake Winery

Our friends, Carole and Dick, recently posted about their experiences with a group called Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts gives its RVing members a list of wineries that have agreed to provide a boondocking spot for the member (most seem to be wineries, but farms can also be a host). The RVer agrees to be polite and courteous, and everyone benefits because of course we can't visit a winery without buying wine!

We thought this sounded like a great idea, so we joined last night (and listed Carole and Dick as the people who referred us, thus giving them a free month), paid our $30 yearly membership fee, and downloaded the host list. And instantly realized there was a host in Columbia Falls, MT, our next destination! So we called Paddy, the owner of Flathead Lake Winery, and asked if we could come by that day or did we need to give him more notice? He welcomed us warmly and told us we could come by that afternoon.

The winery is located just a bit outside the western entrance to Glacier National Park, amid pine trees, cold mountain lakes, and rolling hills. We got in mid-afternoon, and Paddy met us as we pulled in.

Once we got parked, he took us on a tour of the winery -- a small self-owned operation that bottles primarily non-grape wines such as chokecherry, cherry, huckleberry and plum. All the bottling, corking, labeling and packing is done on site. Stainless steel drums and oak casks held the wine that was aging, while a table-full of finished bottles waited to be packed.

I am not usually a fan of sweet, fruity wine, but the wine tasting that followed showed that these wines were not too sweet, not too dry, and had wonderful flavor and crispness. We sat outside amid the pine and cedar trees, drinking wine and getting to know each other. In addition to pouring tastings of each wine and explaining how it was made, Paddy told us stories of the area's history and geology, and recommended places we should visit.
We had a wonderful afternoon with a most gracious host. Thanks, Paddy! We bought three bottles to take with us, and just may order more when we land somewhere long enough for a delivery to reach us.


Diana said...

Harvest Hosts sounds like a wonderful idea, especially because I love wineries (and wine...) But their website seems to be down. If I join, I'll put you down as the referrer.

Mike said...

The Flathead Wilderness Area is beautiful. I love going to Big Fork. Check out Eva Gates Preserves if you go there. It's right on the lake. Thanks for sharing.