Harvest Hosts is a unique RV membership program with a large network of available hosts. So far, 3862+ locations have opened their hearts and their homes and/or businesses to members of the Harvest Hosts RVing community. Through this program, members receive overnight accommodations with no camping fees in peaceful and serene places across North America. In return, members are asked to make a purchase to patronize the small business that hosts them. Of these Hosts, Tongue River Vineyard and Winery is particularly special. Here, you can learn all about this vineyard’s history, its operations today, its origins within the Harvest Hosts community, and what future visitors can expect to experience.
The story of Tongue River Winery began in 1966, when Bob and Marilyn Thaden met on their first day of college. Throughout the years, they jointly pursued their passions of gardening, while Bob pursued his passion in winemaking. These hobbies eventually led them to plant their first set of vines back in 2004. They have planted more vines every year since. In 2010, their son Josh joined their team as the lead winemaker, freeing Bob’s time to mostly work in the vineyard. Together, they make a great family business, producing spectacular regional wines that are enjoyed by many.
The Business Today
Today, Tongue River Vineyard, approximately three acres in size, is the only commercial winery with a vineyard in Montana east of Missoula. They are Southeast Montana’s only vineyard & winery location and have won over fifty medals for their fascinating grape and exotic fruit wines.
They grow mostly University of Minnesota grape varieties, but are experimenting with others that might prove hardy enough for their harsh northern climate. Generally speaking, if they can keep their fruits alive in the winter, they have plenty of time to ripen it in the spring and summer, leading to some truly delicious wines.
In addition to cold-weather grape varietals such as Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc and La Crescent, they also create wines from apples, plums, cherries, raspberries, currants, rosehips, yellow chokecherries, and haskaps, all grown on their property. These unique fruits and grapes add perfectly to their roster of delicious and unusual wines. They occasionally supplement their fruit supply with fruits grown elsewhere, but they use only fruits grown on the Northern Plains. Using only regional fruits leads to the production of truly local varieties of wine.
Joining Harvest Hosts
Tongue River Winery joined the Harvest Hosts program just over four years ago, and they haven’t looked back since. Previous guests have loved their property, their hospitality, and their wines, with many returning more than once. There are several museums nearby, and the location is in close proximity to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Their property features a gift shop and a garden, as well as opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. The setting is peaceful and beautiful, and there is electricity and water offered for a nominal fee. Currently, they offer six pet-friendly parking spaces for RVs under forty-four feet in length. In addition to operating as a Harvest Hosts location, they also rent several beautiful rooms through AirBnB.
Tongue River Vineyard and Winery is a unique Harvest Hosts location, providing a variety of delicious, cold-weather variety wines. Be sure to stop by next time you are crossing over from North Dakota to Montana.
Have you visited Tongue River Vineyard and Winery? Have you ever tried cold weather wines? How did you like them? Feel free to share about it in the comments below!
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