When you visit Glacier and Yellowstone,
be sure to look for our National Park wines!
“You're leading the charge and showing that Montana's wines belong at the top!”
—letter from U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Montana
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In 1585, when Ralph Lane, the governor of the English colony at Roanoke, told Sir Walter Raleigh he had found better vines growing wild in the New World than existed in England, the Old World seized American wine grapes.
Our French-American hybrids use the strong American stock crossbred with the best French varieties for a northern climate. We planted our first grapevines in 1997 and 2003 was our first commercially licensed year to sell wine.
The varietals we grow are: Maréchal Foche, Frontenac, Leon Millot, St. Croix and table grape Swenson Red (reds) and St. Pepin and LaCrosse (whites). From our harvest—an all-time high of 14 tons in October, 2008—comes Ranger Rider, Farm Dog and St. Pepin (formerly Fat Cat).
Due to a trademark dispute, we’ve retired the name Fat Cat, but Spike, our magnificent feline who inspired the name and sadly died in 2005, has risen to sainthood and will continue to appear on the label. After a decade as a prominent civic leader and owner of the successful Cadillac dealership, Spike’s Fins, Spike took on farming, horticulture and supervising the team at Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery. You can find Spike, our guardian angel, on the St. Pepin label, in all his glory.
Ten Spoon also purchases grapes and fruit from family farms. We produce Pinot Noir from the Cattrall Brothers’s small, hilltop vineyard in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. A sumptuous blend of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel grapes makes our Prairie Thunder, from grapes grown at Charlie Barra’s Redwood Valley Vineyard in Mendocino County, Calif. Lise Rousseau and Al Silva grow superb organic Lambert cherries at their meticulous Fat Robin Orchard and Farm on Finley Point beside Flathead Lake in Montana, and that’s the secret of our Flathead Cherry Dry.
Born and raised in the Rattlesnake Valley, Maile Field and her husband Lars Crail provide us with luscious Sauvignon Blanc grapes for Blind Curve, grown at their Dancing Crow Vineyard, a former pear orchard in Lake County, Calif., planted by Maile’s forebearers who went West for the Gold Rush.
From Arlee, Montana, the Flathead Indian Reservation’s bread basket, raspberries grown at Common Ground Farm go into our Big Sky Raspberry Dry, and apples from Sophie’s Apple Orchard make Temptation Apple Dry. Dark, rich Lapin cherries grown by Heidi and Gary Johnson at The Orchard at Flathead Lake ferment nicely, making the delectable Sweet Mountain Cherry Dessert Wine.
You can count on pure organic fruit and no sulfites added to any Ten Spoon wines.
To Add Sulfites or Not . . . that is the Question! I believe wine tastes cleaner and fresher without sulfur additions. As well, our customers frequently comment on the drinkability of our wines in regards to headaches and stuffiness. I am not inclined to make any health claims, so our customer’s comments are what we have to go on.
In regards to the process of wine making and no added sulfites, sanitation in the winery and attention to detail must be enhanced considerably to make fine wines. Our wines have won silver and gold in competitions with predominantly conventional sulfite added wines.
All wines will oxidize and turn to vinegar after opening! Sulfites or not, protect your wine investment by utilizing a “Vacuvin” type air removal device to” pump down” your bottle . . . that is, if you have any wine left!
—Andy Sponseller, Winemaker
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