Grapes of Held Winery


Grapes Of Held Winery is a small boutique winery The rolling hills and forests in the area, lend to the unique atmosphere that draws people all across the country to come and enjoy the beauty. We hope you'll stop by for a wine tasting and enjoy your favorite while you relax on the deck or in our tasting room.

Location Description

Located in the foothills of the Ozarks and near to the Ozark scenic waters ways.


  • The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do. - Galileo Galilei

Additional Information

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At the end of a gravel road off Highway M in Fairdealing, Missouri is a surprise most people in Ripley County aren’t aware of. Grapes of Held Winery & Vineyard, owned by Fred Held of Doniphan, boasts 5 ½ acres of Cayuga, Chambourcin and Norton grapes. Held (who might be considered a self-taught ‘grape farmer’) almost single-handedly tends the grapes from vine to bottle.

His interest in the grapes began when he worked for Southern Pacific Railroad and made frequent trips to California for his job. A co-worker would take him to wineries and encourage him to try the wines and differentiate between the ‘notes’ (notes describes the flavors) of each wine. At first, Held admits, he couldn’t really taste the citrus, buttery or spicy finishes of the wines. Then, after several visits to the wineries, he discovered what his co-worker had been telling him. He could taste the ‘notes’. This led to Held reading books, lots of books, about the different varieties of grapes, growing grapes and making wine.

When a love of the Current River brought him to Ripley County to live after retirement (this writer uses the term ‘retirement’ very loosely), an opportunity to buy the vineyard arose, and Held took that opportunity in 2007. With friends and family (son Kyle and daughter-in-law Mindy of Jackson, Missouri) to help, the first harvest took place in 2007. The nearly 18 tons of grapes harvested were sold to wineries around the state. Depending on the variety of the grape, harvest usually takes place from mid-August to September. After harvesting, the grapes are crushed and de-stemmed and then pressed and fermented (white grapes) or fermented and pressed (red grapes).

At harvest time in 2008, the grape harvester machine (a tall machine that straddles the trellis and uses special fingers (or rods) to shake the grapes off the vine – an impressive sight), missed several rows of grape. Held decided to hand-pick the grapes and thus, his foray into wine making began. He has been making and selling wine ever since and offers seven varieties. The Cayuga (white grapes) are made into a sweet, semi-sweet, and oaked/un-oaked dry wine. The Chambourcin (red grapes) is made into a dry wine and a sweet (late harvest) wine. Finally, the Norton (also a red grape and Missouri’s state grape) is made into a dry wine, often referred to as the ‘Cabernet of the Ozarks’. The grapes that Held doesn’t use for wine are sold to other wineries in Missouri, a common practice among the vineyards throughout the state.

Held considers Grapes of Held a ‘boutique’ winery, which refers to a winery that produces a small amount of wine and is usually located in the ‘middle of nowhere’. In spite of its location, Held’s winery has seen visitors from all over the state and even surrounding states. The Missouri Wine & Grape Board, of which Held is a member, promotes Missouri’s wineries through programs that reward wine lovers for visiting wineries throughout the state.

Practices & Techniques

You can visit Grapes of Held Winery and at any given time, the fermentation tanks will be filled with the season’s latest harvest – in liquid form. Viticulture (the study and production of grapes) is considered specialty farming in Missouri. As a matter of fact, the first American Viticulture Area (a designated wine-grape growing region) in the United States was designated in 1980 in Augusta, Missouri.

Recognized as a specialty crop by the USDA and Missouri Department of Agriculture, grants are becoming available to those brave enough to venture into the grape-growing or other specialty crop business. Grape-growing is not necessarily for the hobbyist, as it requires a ‘commitment to the vine’, patience, and a willingness to work hard for the end result – the perfect glass of wine. While that perfect glass of wine is subjective to each individual’s taste, Fred Held has managed to create wines that can satisfy most picky wine drinker’s palates. The wine tastings at the winery give you a sample of each of the seven varieties, one of which you’re sure to enjoy. You can then buy a bottle to take home or have a glass at the winery and enjoy the view of the vineyard.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

According to the Missouri Wine and Grape Board’s Economic Impact of Wine and Grapes in Missouri, there were approximately 97 operating wineries and 393 vineyards (1,600 grape bearing acres) in Missouri as of 2009. Winery related revenue in Missouri was estimated at $42.4 million with wine related tourism expenditures topping out at $175.7 million.

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Fri: 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm Sat - Sun: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm


State Hwy M
Fairdealing, Missouri 63939
United States

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