Links to some of our favorite websites:
Montana Grape and Winery Association: This is a new non-profit organization which began in February 2015 to represent both amateur and professional growers and winemakers in Montana. It's first annual and formative membership meeting was held on June 12th at the Red Lion Inn in Kalispell, MT. The best northern grape breeder, Tom Plocher. shared info on his new hardy short season grapes. Winemaker Rod Ballinger from Wolf Creek Winery in Fargo shared some of the wines made with Tom's grapes. Tongue River Winery's Bob Thaden offered a basic primer on winemaking with useful information for both beginners and experienced winemakers.
North Dakota Grape and Wine Association (NDGWA.ORG): This is the North Dakota group which has been around for almost 10 years. Tongue River Winery's Bob Thaden is the current Vice President of this organization and serves as the Chair of the Research Committee. He and Marilyn have been very active with NDGWA for more than a half-dozen years. You can find interesting information on this site, including a number of educational offerings.
Probably the most important current project is a joint effort between NDGWA and NDSU in breeding quality wine grapes that truly will survive and thrive in our climate in ND, SD, and MT. Tom Plocher serves as an active consultant to this breeding program, which has a trial planting of several thousand grapevines at the Minot NDSU site. The hope is that offspring of some of these crosses being bred in Fargo will lead to promising grapevine cultivars within the next 5-10 years.
Petite Pearl Plus: This is Tom Plocher's website describing his breeding program in Minnesota and showcasing some of the results he's creating. Tom's vines are the most exciting for us of all the grapes being bred in the world because they are so hardy and good quality!