The 2020 Miracle Fall
I started Flathead Lake Winery in 2017 in Polson, Montana. Flathead Lake Winery is a very small batch unique winery, producing under 300 cases of unfiltered wine without added sulfites. The wines are velvety smooth due to my unique process, little known in the wine world.
This is the first blog of flatheadlakewine.com, my website for Flathead Lake Winery. My wife Cindy and I live in Polson with the normal gardens, a few grapes and fruit trees, blackberries and a lot of haskaps. I started replanting the Page vineyard on Finley Point in 2015 which produces Marquette, Petite and Crimson Pearl and Verona cold hardy grapes. The historic Page vineyard was started in 1985 by Dudley and Anne Page. Dudley passed away over ten years ago, he helped numerous people across Montana start vineyards and was an early mentor and visionary of a viable Montana wine industry. A handful of 35 year old Interlochen green seedless grapes still flourish among the 4-6 year old wine grapes. Flathead Lake Winery also uses grapes from Gene Presser in north Dayton overlooking Wild Horse Island high up on a south facing hill.
2020 was a year to remember in the vineyard. It was as bad as 2019 starting out three weeks late flowering then not drying out and warming up until mid summer this year. But it warmed up, a lot! Two months of warm sunny weather was the only way our Montana grapes were going to ripen.
I prepared for a short season by shoot and crop thinning thinking the way it looked for a dismal 2020 growing season. I also opened up the canopy to as much sun as possible, then the weather changed, a miracle, 2 months+ of warm, sometimes hot, sunny days, across Montana.
My grapes ripened nicely with Marquette obtaining 26 brix. The four grape wine varieties are all nearly finished fermenting and ready for racking to bulk aging. S
COMING SOON: online wine ordering for 2018 Marquette, Naughty Nectarine and Cherry Blend.
IT WAS A DISASTER BACK IN 2019
It did not warm up in the summer of 2019 but continued to rain and stayed cold till later in August when it finished up with a day and a half 4" soaker, the Billings area experienced extreme winds and hail that tore buildings apart and flattened crops and some vineyards.
Very few areas in Montana ripened grapes properly in 2019.