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Wine Down In Fennville


When you think of regions with spectacular wines, your mind might immediately go to Australia, Spain, or France. But did you know that Fennville, Michigan, is the state’s first American Viticultural Area (AVA) and was only the third in the country when it was established in 1981? This fertile region is known for moderate temps, cool Lake Michigan breezes, and hilly topography—creating the perfect formula for spectacular wines.

All About AVA

Wondering what an AVA is? These grape-growing regions have specific geographic or climatic features that distinguish them from the surrounding regions and affect how grapes are grown. For wine enthusiasts, the AVA region noted on a wine bottle gives them more insight into the origin of the grapes. Only five areas in Michigan have this privileged distinction, including Fennville, the Lake Michigan Shore Region (which also includes Fennville), the Leelanau Peninsula, the Old Mission Peninsula, and the Tip of the Mitt.


Fertile Fennville

Fennville’s soil and environment hits a sweet spot for making classic European and European varietal wines. Bordered by Lake Michigan to the west, the Black River to the south, and the Kalamazoo River to the north, Fennville’s wineries contain soil that is rich in glacial sand. This, coupled with moderated temperatures from Lake Michigan and the surrounding rivers, ensures that the grapes grown in this valley produce the most exceptional wines.

Four Unique Winery Experiences

Traveling through Fennville, you’ll find four award-winning wineries that are part of either the Fennville or Lake Michigan Shore AVAs.  While each winery boasts some of the best wines in the state, these distinctive locations all have something special to offer. 

In 2023, Fenn Valley Vineyards & Winery celebrates 50 years of epic events and exquisite wines. Located just south of Holland and near Lake Michigan, the winery hosts a number of can’t-miss yearly events including the Fenn Valley Wine Festival, Summer Evening Cookouts, Music in the Vineyards, and a scenic 5K through the grape vines called Vine Wine’d. During the 50th anniversary, all of these events will have a special celebratory spin. 

Fenn Valley has also released four anniversary-edition wines. These include a Sauvignon Blanc, a semidry Riesling, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a dry sparkling wine for the holiday season. Be sure to stop by Fenn Valley to taste these new wines, take a tour, or schedule a private event. 

In the mood for a little music with your wine? Modales hosts a Friday night music series, bringing local talent to perform with no cover charge in their intimate outdoor tasting room. Located just four miles off the shore of Lake Michigan, their 76-acre farm is home to estate-grown bottles of elegant red and white wines. Come sip on a superb Michigan varietal from a place that’s “elevating Michigan wine,” according to Condé Nast Traveler.

Cranes Winery, located just west of downtown Fennville, is beloved for their award-winning fruit wines and pies. What began as a small orchard has transformed into a vibrant venue with a restaurant, bakery, small-batch winery and cider mill, u-pick orchards, and more.

If you’re looking for a crisp, white wine on a hot summer day, Michigan Wine Company specializes in white wine varietals from well-known European vinifera (Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc) and new hybrids, including their Itasca wine. This beautiful vineyard also focuses on sustainable cultivation practices and has earned a Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program certification for its work to remain environmentally conscious.

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