About Paw Paw
Named for the “pawpaw” trees once grown along its river banks, Paw Paw, Michigan is located in the heart of Michigan’s wine country. Paw Paw’s rural location provides plenty of fertile land for grape growing, and its convenient location next to Interstate 94 allows provides easy access to this quaint wine country town.
The area was settled in 1833 by E.L. Barrett, and originally called “Lafayette.” In 1867, however, when the village was designated the county seat for Van Buren County, the name was changed to Paw Paw.
Six schools make up the Paw Paw Public School District, including an alternative education school as well as a pre-school facility. The keystone feature of its high school is the 950-seat Performing Arts Center, which hosts the district’s award-winning music and theatre programs. Paw Paw is located approximately 25 miles west of Lake Michigan, as well as 20 miles from Kalamazoo. M-40 runs through the town, which provides access south to Indiana, and north towards I-196.
The hallmark of Paw Paw is undoubtedly its wineries, most notably the St. Julian Winery, Michigan’s oldest, largest, and most awarded winery. Founded in 1921, it has remained in the Meconi family for nearly 100 years, and features wines, brandies and vodkas. The town features over 100 acres of parkland, and four village buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With a number of culinary school trained and certified chefs owning and operating restaurants, fine dining at small town prices is a hallmark of this beautiful village.
The weekend after Labor Day each year is spotlighted by an annual wine and harvest festival, featuring live music and fireworks — not to mention a popular barefoot grape stomping competition, a favorite among locals.