Wine lovers who feel utterly neglected by the beer boom of the past few years can now gather and rejoice at the Flathead’s newest winery.
Meredith Hanson recently opened Tailing Loop Winery in Evergreen at 1498 Montana 35, just past Snappy Sport Senter. The space was previously a gallery.
The winery features a casual atmosphere with a plethora of wine taps that dispense vino sourced from the Pacific Northwest, including many from the Yakima, Washington area.
“Washington wines are becoming very good,” Hanson said. “It’s really becoming one of the premier wine regions in the country.”
Hanson hopes to create an atmosphere that mimics the welcoming, open aspect of breweries. She wants her business to dispel any stigmas about wineries being overly formal or that customers have to know their wines before visiting.
“We want to make wine something that everyone can enjoy and kind of demystify it for them,” Hanson said. “You can pick it up really quick and it can be fun, not intimidating.”
Tailing Loop currently has one other employee, but Hanson plans to be behind the bar on most days, helping customers navigate the wine list.
Hanson plans to host events that will teach participants how to judge and select wines for their personal taste. The winery also will host live music on weekends.
Hanson grew up in Havre and attended college in Bozeman where she studied pre-med. She took a year off after school and worked at a winery in Billings. She loved it, and one year off became three.
She then decided to take some sommelier training in Denver and sought out opportunities to learn to ferment her own wine. Hanson said her background in biochemistry helped her understand the fermentation process, and she hopes to begin fermenting her own wine this year. She even hopes to incorporate some Montana grapes into those wines, though she said a difficult growing climate can limit those options.
Her training brought her all around the Northwest, but now that she’s located in the Flathead her goal is to focus on locals — a driving factor in her decision to open a winery in Evergreen.
She acknowledges that lots of businesses pack the house during the summer, but she wanted to cater to the people who live and work in the Flathead to help her get through the shoulder season and become an integral part of the community. Hanson plans to host special happy hours at times that cater toward workers who get off before 5 p.m., and make sure she is open on Sunday and later into the evening during the week. The winery is closed Monday and Tuesday.
Tailing Loop is planning an official grand opening in June. A full schedule and contact information can be found on the Tailing Loop Winery Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/tailingloopwinery/.
Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or firstname.lastname@example.org