In 1983, pioneer wine grape growers Dr. Dudley Page, and his wife Annie, decided that Finley Point, which is an ancient glacial terminal moraine jutting out into beautiful Flathead Lake, might be a great site to grow wine grapes. This is because Flathead Lake, which is 28 miles long and 15 miles wide, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, creates its own weather patterns, which moderate Montana’s otherwise harsh winters and hot summers.
After much trial and error, Dudley and Annie settled on Pinot Noir as their chosen varietal, and by 1990 they had 3 ½ acres of Pinot Noir planted and producing. Almost 20 years later, the constant work of maintaining a producing vineyard began to wear on the Pages, and they decided to sell part of the vineyard in 2008 to us, who wanted to return to Montana, after working in Denver for 20 years.
Unfortunately, in 2013, after a warm February, a hard March frost killed all the Pinot Noir vines. Rather than replace the Pinot Noirs, we decided to try a hardy hybrid varietal, which had Pinot Noir has one of its parents, and which was called Marquette. In 2015, we also planted a newly arrived white varietal from Nova Scotia called L’Acadie Blanc. 2016 was the first full year of production for the Marquette vines, and we are looking forward to our first producing year from the L’Acadie Blanc vines this fall 2017.
In 2014, we also cleared a ¼ acre of third growth young pine above the vineyards, and planted lavender. We had our first producing flowers in the summer of 2016, and are looking forward to a good crop this summer, despite the very hard winter we just had.
The grapes are looking very good right now due to the hot, dry summer that we just had in 2017. We are hoping for a mid-September harvest. Last year, a local winery in Polson, MT. purchased all of our Marquette grapes. Tongue River Winery in Miles City, MT also purchased our Leon Millot's. We are always looking for new vintners to try our grapes. This year will be the first harvest for the L'Acadie Blanc's and hopefully someone will be bold enough to try them!