Montana is a state in the west of the United States. It borders the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan to the north, the U.S. states of North & South Dakota to the east, Idaho to the west, and Wyoming to the south.
The western two-fifths of Montana fall within the Rocky Mountains, consisting of glaciers, high mountains, deep valleys, and green forests, while the eastern three-fifths of Montana lies upon the Great Plains and is characterized by western prairie terrain. This contrast between mountains and plains is the most defining geographic feature of the state of Montana.
In this article, I will take a look at the best wine festivals in Montana that play a perfect compliment to the beautiful and diverse landscape of Big Sky Country.
Wineries in Montana
The Montana wine industry has flourished even though it is not an ideal wine-growing region. The growth of native north American hybrid grapes that can withstand the region’s long winters has made Montana a wine-growing area making quality wines.
There are eight wineries in Montana with vineyards found within the mountain ranges for which Montana is famous. The wines most often produced include Gewurtztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir.
Many wineries source grapes from other states to ensure their wines are of the best quality and not affected by the changing climatic conditions in the region.
The Top Wine Festivals in Montana
Wine festivals in Montana are a great way to enjoy a day out, sampling new wines you may not have tasted before and selecting some to take home with you. All the while enjoying great-tasting food and listening to live music.
There are several Wine Festivals well worth marking on your calendar if you intend to visit the state of Montana.
- MSU Billings Foundation Wine & Food Festival
- Annual Montana Wine & Beer Festival Missoula
- Taste of Big Fork
- Vine & Dine Big Sky Montana
- Venue: Montana State University Billings Foundation Wine & Food Festival
- Address: 1500 University Drive, Billings, MT, 59101
- Event Dates: 12-14 May 2023
- 12 May (Northern Hotel)
Wine Masters Symposium – 7 pm
- 13 May (Montana Pavilion)
Wine & Food Tasting – 6 pm to 10 pm
- 14 May (Montana Pavilion)
Dinner & Auction – 7 pm
- 12 May (Northern Hotel)
The MSU Billings Foundation Wine & Food Festival has become the signature event in Montana for wine and culinary enthusiasts, with the festival in May 2022 celebrating its 30TH Anniversary of the festival.
Enjoy three days of wine seminars, gourmet dining, and cooking schools with local, state, and nationally renowned chefs and wine-masters
A festival with something for everyone, starting with the Wine Masters Symposium on 12 May, where you can enjoy tasting exquisite wines, followed on 13 May with the two-part wine and food tasting event under the grand tent.
On 14 May, a Dinner & Auction grand event completes the festival and features a gourmet dinner and a live auction to raise money to provide scholarships for Montana State University.
- Venue: 15th Annual Montana Wine & Beer Festival
- Address: Adams Center, University of Montana campus,32 Campus Drive,Missoula MT 59802
- Event Date: 14 October – 7-10 pm
- Tickets: $75 per person, and attendees must be at least 21 years of age.
After a three-year absence, the University of Montana Grizzly Scholarship Association and Summit Beverage are hosting the 15th annual Montana Wine & Beer.
The festival is always scheduled for the evening before a Griz home football game this year against Idaho.
A souvenir glass enables you to sample wines and beer from wineries and breweries in the region. In addition, food sample tables are available from Albertsons/Safeway and the University of Montana Catering.
Montana artists will also be on-site to display and sell their art. In addition, a silent auction consisting of limited edition originals, a variety of beer and wine products, and Griz memorabilia is part of the festivities, with all proceeds benefitting the GSA in providing scholarships to student-athletes.
- Venue: Electric Avenue
- Address: Bigfork MT 59911
- Event Date: April
- Tickets: Cost – $40 per person
Bigfork is based on the edge of Flathead Lake and near Glacier National Park, one of the country’s most renowned national parks.
The Bigfork festival has been running for many years and is open from 2 pm – 5 pm, where you can walk from venue to venue in Bigfork and enjoy the wine, music, and excellent food from various Bigfork restaurants.
The Taste of Bigfork benefits Imaginelf Bigfork and the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce.
At 5 pm, after enjoying all the food and wine on offer, a raffle described as the “world’s greatest raffle” takes place at the Garden Bar and Grill, where Bigfork Area merchants donate many great items for you to win.
- Venue: Vine & Dine. Big Sky Resort – Big Sky Montana
- Address: 50 Big Sky Resort Road,Big Sky, MT59716
- Event Date: Held in August
The annual Vine & Dine Festival in Big Sky is a world-class wine and food-tasting event held in mid-August, where you can experience fine wine and an incredible array of food in a stunning mountain setting.
Surrounding yourself with knowledgeable wine-makers, regional and celebrity culinary talent, and food and wine connoisseurs will increase your appreciation of fine wine and high-end cuisine.
During Big Sky’s Vine & Dine, there will be a varied selection of culinary events that you can attend, including:
- Food and wine tastings
- Cooking Demonstrations
- Wine Sales
- Silent Auctions
- Outdoor adventures