Wine Festival History
Following are brief highlights of the Wine Festival's development. Since the first year, Wine Festival events have expanded, and more important, dollars raised for the campus have grown.
1992 - MSU-Billings Foundation, in an effort to increase campus visibility, provide scholarship dollars to students and engage community volunteers with the Foundation and campus, formed an Ad Hoc Committee to explore a special event. Members were Dona Hagen, Gail Waller, Dottie Hollatz, Corby Skinner, Deb Dzuck and Dr. Bruce Carpenter, serving as a liaison member of the committee.
With Dr. Carpenter's knowledge and love of wine, a wine festival seemed to be the way to go. After research on different festivals across the country and visiting a few, the MSU-Billings Foundation Board approved the idea and provided start-up funds.
Dona Hagen and Dottie Hollatz were the event's co-chairs. Briggs Distributing Company became a partner with the Foundation and John Decker and Bob Wier of Briggs became members of the festival committee. Marriott Food Services, under the direction of Rick Waldt, also became a partner. Major sponsors of the event were Deaconess Medical Center, Exxon Billings Refinery, Fortin Enterprises and Norwest Bank/Norwest Capital Management.
1993 - The first Wine Festival was held on the campus of MSU-Billings. It was a two-day event: Friday wine tasting and a Saturday gourmet dinner and live auction.
Richard Arrowood of Arrowood Winery was the first Wine Master. $43,000 net proceeds.
1994 - $62,400 net proceeds.
1995 - $80,500 net proceeds. First Wine Wise Seminar was held.
1996 - $74,000 net proceeds.
1997 - $104,000 net proceeds. Cooking Schools began. Current Wine Festival logo adopted.
1998 - $100,000 net proceeds.
1999 - $188,000 net proceeds. Guest Chef Dinner began.
2000 - $215,000 net proceeds.
2001 - $188,000 net proceeds.
2002 - $204,000 net proceeds. Wine 101 and Wines Around the World Tour began.
2003 - $220,500 net proceeds. Winemaster Dinners begin. Additional Cooking Schools added.
2004 - $285,000 net proceeds. Evening cooking schools available. Wine Wise Seminar becomes Wine 401.
2005 - $280,000 net proceeds. Record profit.
2006 - $282,000 net proceeds.
2007 - $360,000 net proceeds. Record profit and Winemaster Symposia introduced.
2008 - $335,000 net proceeds.
2009 - $237,500 net proceeds. Wine 201 and Iron Chef Competition introduced.
2010 - $245,000 net proceeds. Private Cellar introduced.
2011 - $250,000 net proceeds. From Pasture to Plate: A Day of Discovering the People, the Land, and the Legacy of Beef introduced.