TASTING ROOM HOURS
Monday – Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
With additional summer/fall hours
I talked with the Owner and Wine Maker of Fenn Valley, Doug Welsch, to learn about his business.
Q: How many wines have you released this year?
A: This year so far we’ve released around 30. We’ve got Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc… We’ve got a number of dry rosé. There’s just a pile of them.
Q: How many of your wines have won awards in the last three years?
A: We win about 40 awards per year, so probably 120. When you have so many wines and you enter a bunch of contests, you win a bunch of awards. We got a double gold at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. That was for our Reisling. It was up against Reislings from around the world like Germany. We also won a double gold from the Taster’s Guild International Wine competition in April, and that was our Merlot.
Q: How does your tasting room work?
A: It’s our principle means of wine distribution. We have a tasting room at the winery, and another downtown in Saugatuck. Together they’re responsible for about 90% of our wine. Retail is important. How it works is crucial for us. We have a lot of tours that typically involve wine tasting and show different ways for making wines. We’re trying to educate the consumer, so that then we have a willing consumer.
Q: How many customers come through your tasting room every year?
A: We estimate the main testing room will entertain 60,000 people per year. At Saugatuck it’s about 20,000.
Q: What makes this winery the best in the state?
A: It’s the educational component. We’re not just out selling wine, we’re trying to educate the consumer. There’s a sense of obligation to make the consumer more knowledgable and more passionate. Every winery makes good wine, but what makes us different is the touring component.