The name Post is synonymous with grape-growing and winemaking in Arkansas and across the United States. The six-generation farm family has been growing grapes and making wine in Altus since Mathew Post’s great-grandfather Jacob planted the first vineyard in 1872. Mathew and his father James purchased the Altus Cooperative Winery in 1947 which provided some financial relief for smaller wineries. Mathew was elected president of the co-op and served as Head Winemaker at Post Winery.
During the following 60 years, Post worked closely with the University of Arkansas on numerous grape and wine research projects, providing land, equipment, labor and grants. He was the first to introduce several varieties of grapes to Arkansas, including the French-American hybrid, Seyval Blanc, and the American native hybrid, Steuben.
In the late 1950s, Post worked closely with Philip Wagner, who is known as the “Father of the Hybrid Movement.” Through their professional association, Post introduced the French-American and American-native hybrid varieties on a commercial scale to Arkansas. Though there are many, perhaps Post’s greatest contribution to the industry was the introduction of muscadine grape production on a commercial scale in 1970. Post says muscadines are a grape that can be grown profitably in Arkansas. As far as he’s concerned, muscadines are “the only grape you can compete with in America.” Because of its worldwide popularity, Post Winery is now exporting and selling Muscadine Juice to customers in China.
Post’s other accomplishments include working with Third District Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt to establish the Altus Viticultural Area in 1984. With 200 acres of grapes under cultivation, Post has developed the largest vineyard in Arkansas. In 2004, he was awarded the prize of Supreme Knight by the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine, part of an international Federation of Wine Societies. The honor is bestowed on only a few individuals nationally and is reserved for those who are deemed to have made “monumental” contributions to the industry.