After reading last week's "Real talk about wine" (see "What's Good Here," Aug. 14), I must say that both Jule Banville and her wine-shop buddies have really "missed the boat" on their evaluation of Montana wines. There are, in fact, hundreds of people who enjoy these wines and have been buying them for years. More importantly, people really knowledgeable (professional wine judges) are now giving accolades to several of the newer Montana wines made from cold-hardy hybrid grapes.
Several Montana commercial wineries have recently obtained gold, silver and bronze medals in regional, national and international competitions. We have personally received a gold medal for a Marquette red wine at the 2014 International Amateur Winemakers Competition and in 2012 received a silver medal for Frontenac Gris, another cold-hardy hybrid. We rely more on the unbiased evaluations of professional wine judges than on retail wine-shop people with their own individual preferences.
Yes, good wines are now being produced in the Bitterroot, Missoula and all the way up past Flathead Lake. There is even a quality winery in Miles City. More good news is that we now have a newly formed MT Grape and Wine Producers Organization, and plantings of cold-hardy hybrids are going in throughout Ravalli, Missoula, Lake, Flathead and Sanders counties. Within 10 years, we predict a wine trail in Montana where you can taste and buy a lot of quality wines. The Kalispell area already has a mini version of this. And that, folks, is the real talk about wine.
Al and Selma Putnam