Wine and brew masters celebrated at annual festival

MSU BILLINGS FOUNDATION NEWS—From Montana to Australia, the 2019 Wine & Food Festival brings beverage experts to Billings in a celebration of wine and beer. This year’s featured winemasters are Ewan Proctor of Penfolds in South Australia, and John and Lane Giguiere of Matchbook Wine Company in Zamora, California. Zach Nelson, the 2019 brewmaster, is from closer to home at KettleHouse Brewing Company in Missoula. Each brings with them a mastery of fine wine and craft beer that’s sure to tantalize taste buds during the week-long festival of events in May.

Proctor is the Penfolds brand ambassador and head of luxury education for Treasury Wine Estates America. Recently, he spent three years in Asia, during which he was pivotal to the phenomenal success and growth of the iconic Australian winemaker. An experienced sommelier, Proctor joined Penfolds after a decorated career in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

John and Lane Giguiere are a husband-and-wife team who have been in the wine business since the early 1980s. The two, along with John’s brother Karl, founded R.H. Phillips Winery in the Dunnigan Hills region of California in 1983. Starting as a small, family-owned vineyard and winery operation, the company grew into a 750,000-case producer on a 2,500-acre plot of land. Lane retired from R.H. Phillips in 2004 to start Crew Wine Company, now Matchbook Wine Company, and John joined her the following year.

Nelson is a lead brewer at KettleHouse Brewing Company, where he has worked his way up the ranks from cleaning kegs in 2012. Nelson now oversees the brewing and production operations in the company’s three facilities. The Missoulian brewery is known for matching quality beers to the quality of the Montana outdoor experience, and they’re the makers of award-winning Cold Smoke Scotch Ale.

All of the wine and brew masters will be present during the Wine and Food Pairings under the “Grand” Tent event on Friday, May 17. The event features food and beverage samples from dozens of vendors, a silent auction, and an on-site wine store in the “grand” white tent at MSU Billings. The featured presenters will also share their expertise during Brewmaster Symposium and Winemaster Symposium events earlier that week. Tickets to the Friday night pairing event, along with other Wine & Food Festival events, are on sale now at    

For more event information about the MSU Billings Foundation’s annual Wine & Food Festival, contact Jeanne Moller at (406) 657-1623 or


Guest Chef Dinner: Topography
May 13 at 6 p.m.
TEN at Northern Hotel | 19 N Broadway, Billings
$150 per person

The week of 2019 Wine & Food Festival festivities begins with this unique and impressive feast featuring executive chef Josh Drage of The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, Montana, and chef Lisa Rembold of Northern Hotel in Billings. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor every morsel. 

Home Cooking School: Topography
May 14 at 6 p.m.
Mike Nelson and Judy Povilaitis residence | 3703 Tommy Armour Cir, Billings
*This event is sold out

Chef Josh Drage is celebrated for creating unique Montana ranch cuisine, which focuses on organic and sustainable meats and produce. Pushing the envelope with bold flavors and healthy ingredients, chef Drage’s passion for cooking reflects the spirit and lifestyle of Montana.

A Riedel Champagne Tasting Seminar
May 14 at 7 p.m.
MSU Billings Student Union Building, Glacier Room | 1500 University Dr, Billings
$150 per person

Riedel – The Wine Glass Company returns to Wine & Food Festival to present their latest creation in glassware. The Performance line is the first Riedel wine glass series to feature bowls with light optic impact. Experience French Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Noir champagnes at their finest, and take home a Performance Tasting Kit ($180 value) of six glasses. Light appetizers are included.

Home Cooking School: Taste of Birch
May 15 at 6 p.m.
Mike Mathew and Kay Foster residence | 115 N Broadway, Billings
*This event is sold out.

“Where art, innovation and flavor intersect with unparalleled talent and intention.” Chef Sorenson and his wife, Heather, opened their restaurant in Sheridan, Wyoming. At Birch Restaurant, chef Sorenson uses creativity and innovation to make culinary history.

Brewmaster Symposium
May 15 at 7 p.m.
Billings Petroleum Club | 27 N 27th St, Billings
$75 per person

Enjoy an evening with Zach Nelson of KettleHouse Brewing Company in Missoula, Montana. With the growing popularity of craft beers, this seminar gives beer lovers the opportunity to sample beers and learn the characteristics that make them unique. Food pairing by executive chef Jeremy Engebretson will be a component of this course.

Home Cooking School: “Tastes of my Youth” – A Culinary Tribute to Eastern Montana
May 16 at 11 a.m.
Dan Jellison and Walt Williams residence | 9314 Sanctuary Estates Dr, Billings
*This event is sold out.

Montana-born chef Barrie Boulds has served an extensive list of clients, from celebrities to presidents, and been featured in The New York Times. In 2019, chef Boulds joined Rock Creek Resort in Red Lodge, Montana, as executive chef and manager of Old Piney Dell. She is known for incorporating her own flair to crafting the menu with an emphasis on locally-sourced meats, vegetables and wild game.

Home Cooking School: The Western Kitchen
May 16 at 6 p.m.
Brian and Kelli Christenson residence | 4334 Brandywood Dr, Billings
*This event is sold out.

Fresh regional, local and seasonal ingredients are the foundation in New American cooking heralded by Chico Hot Springs executive chef, Dave Wells. Chef Wells was recently named a semifinalist in the 2019 James Beard Foundation awards. He focuses on seasonal Montana ingredients and relies on locally-sourced food, which are the impetus behind his prestigious recognition.

Winemaster Symposium
May 16 at 7 p.m.
Northern Hotel | 19 N Broadway, Billings
$100 per person

Taste exquisite wines with the guidance of experts who crafted them. Our 2019 winemasters have carefully chosen wines, some seldom seen outside their wineries, to illustrate the subtleties of the winemaster’s art. Join John and Lane Giguiere of Matchbook Wine Company in Zamora, California, and Ewan Proctor of Penfolds in Australia for wine pairings with a menu by executive chef Lisa Rembold of Northern Hotel.

Wine and Food Pairings under the “Grand” Tent
May 17 at 6 p.m.
In the “Grand” white tent on the MSU Billings campus | 1500 University Dr, Billings
$85 per person

With dozens of featured vendors and hundreds of options, Friday night guests experience the unique depth and breadth of Wine & Food Festival offerings. Bring your friends for a casual celebration and endless samples of wine, food and craft brews from all around the region and beyond.

The Fine Finish under the “Grand” Tent
May 18 at 5:30 p.m.
In the “Grand” white tent on the MSU Billings campus | 1500 University Dr, Billings
$125 per person 

This elegant event is the finale of the annual Wine & Food Festival. Guests enjoy a champagne reception, heads or tails, live and silent auctions, and more. Executive chef Jeremy Goldsmith of Sodexo at Gonzaga University will prepare a gourmet dinner to match the superb ambiance of the gala celebration.


The Wine & Food Festival is the largest annual fundraiser for the MSU Billings Foundation. The festival raises dollars to assist in the foundation’s important work, especially in providing student scholarships. In 2018, the festival netted $335,000, adding to the more than $5.9 million in net proceeds garnered since the event’s inception in 1993.

Wine & Food Festival changes each year to embrace new culinary styles and wine from around the world, and appeal to the many people who attend a variety of pre-events leading up to the week-long festival in May. Guest chef presenters, live and silent auctions, world-class cuisine, fine wine, cooking schools, and more make this festival a truly special program. Every dollar raised supports the MSU Billings Foundation and the students of Montana State University Billings. The 2019 Wine & Food Festival will take place May 13-18.

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