Host Location Profile: White Raven Winery
Have you heard about Harvest Hosts, but you’re not entirely sure what it is? Or are you a member wondering what it might be like to be a host? We focus a lot on valuable resources for our RV members, but in this article, we’re diving into some of the amazing reasons to become a Harvest Hosts host!
Read on to learn about what the experience has been like for White Raven Winery in Columbia Falls, Montana.
White Raven Winery
Montana isn’t exactly known for its wineries. That’s precisely why Dan Murphy, owner of White Raven Winery in northwest Montana, booked it back to his hometown after a 30-plus-year absence when he learned that he could grow grapes here.
Dan and his high school sweetheart, Rebecca, left Columbia Falls shortly after graduation. The couple bounced around and ultimately landed in San Diego, where Dan was stationed with the Marine Corps. They dabbled in winemaking at home and started a wine bottling business in California, but always hoped to move back to Montana. Dan explained that the issue was making a living. In the agricultural-focused Flathead Valley, there are few job opportunities.
In 2016, timing aligned just right. Shortly after discovering he could grow grapes in Columbia Falls, the opportunity to open a winery presented itself. Dan seized that opportunity, opening White Raven just 16 minutes from West Glacier, Glacier National Park’s only year-round entrance. It opened in 2018 and is still the town’s only winery today. White Raven is also open year-round, which is fairly unusual for businesses in this area.
From Winemaker to Harvest Hosts Host
Business has been steady for White Raven since opening day. That should come as no surprise, since Glacier National Park welcomes just over 3 million visitors every year, with the vast majority of them traveling through West Glacier.
When the owners of fellow Montana winery Tongue River Vineyard & Winery told Dan about the Harvest Hosts program, he was intrigued. During Glacier’s peak summer season, campsites are scarce — and that’s putting it mildly. The park welcomes over 90% of its annual visitors between June and September, amounting to well over half a million people each month during that period, but has less than 500 campsites.
Signing up as a Harvest Host location was a no-brainer for Dan. It became official in spring of 2022. The winery’s four spaces booked out consistently throughout the summer, and Dan saw an average spend of about $30 per RV, per night. Even among campers who don’t drink wine, many bought charcuterie boards, merch, or bottles to give as gifts.
If you have two spaces booked for 150 nights — less than half the year — that’s $9,000 in additional revenue.
Dan says, “If I were asked from another potential Harvest Host should they become a host, I would say definitely. It added business to us for sure this summer and the diversity of folks that come through helps the business. You get a lot of exposure from that whole world, where they give you reviews, your products get known […] and it helps.” We all know the RV community is close-knit, and reviews and word-of-mouth do certainly matter!
Interested in Becoming a Host?
Harvest Hosts provides a cost-free opportunity for small businesses to increase revenue simply by “hosting” our self-contained RV members for one night on their property. In return, our Members patronize the businesses. No electrical/water hookups or other RV services required!
Ready to join? Need more information?
Send the Host Relations team an email at [email protected] or visit harvesthosts.com/hosts to get started.
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