Daines honors Tongue River Winery owners as ‘Montanan of the Week’

Amorette Allison
Star Staff Writer

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana), highlights a Montana resident or residents he feels deserves special recognition through his “Montanan of the Week” initiative. A statement of recognition is placed in the official Congressional Record

Last week, Bob, Marilyn and Josh Thaden of the Tongue River Winery of Miles City were honored with the recognition.

The statement from Daines reads: “I have the distinct honor of recognizing the team at the Tongue River Winery, in Custer County, for having the skill, patience and dedication required to produce quality wines on the high plains of eastern Montana.”

Daines said the winery has thrived in a less-than-ideal location.

“Despite a difficult growing climate, this humble, family-run operation has successfully combined vineyard and winery functions and has received numerous awards and recognition for their efforts.

“For their efforts, I raise my glass to the team at the Tongue River Winery.”  

Bob Thaden’s response to the Congressional Record honor, posted on his Facebook pages, said “I might not agree with his politics, but ... I appreciate his affirmation of our winery!”

Thaden “challenged” Daines to “stop in for a glass of wine” during the upcoming recess, and share “sweet and dry political concerns with each other.”

The recognition appears on page S3729 of the June 22 edition of the Record (https://www.congress.gov/crec/2017/06/22/CREC-2017-06-22-pt1-PgS3729-2.pdf.)

Although the Tongue River Winery only encompasses three acres, in that limited space they grow several varieties of grapes, all of them adapted for the cold climate of eastern Montana. They also grow pears, raspberries, elderberries, Carmine cherries and haskaps, an edible honeysuckle fruit. Their “Cherry Pie” wine, along with their rhubarb wine, are among their top sellers.

The Tongue River Winery’s most recent honors include awards for “Warm Front” as favorite red; “Sweetie Pie” as favorite dessert wine and “Arancione” as “most unusual rose at the North Dakota Wine and Grape Conference.

The winery also won the prestigious  Granite Peak Award — named for the highest mountain in Montana — at the NorthWest Wine Summit held at the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Oregon.

The Northwest Wine Summit awards a top wine for each state and province that enters the competition, with Granite Peak Award presented to the Montana winner.

At the opposite end of the country, the winery entered the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in Rochester, New York and took home silver medals for Tongue-Tied, their Pear wine and Sweetie Pie, a dessert wine, as well as a bronze medal for Aronia. 

(Contact Amorette Allison at 406-234-0450 or mcreporter@midrivers.com.)