Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grape County Week in Chautauqua County

Below are a couple of press releases I recently received. It looks like a fun week!

America’s Grape Country Week Celebration Set for August 9-17

Westfield, NY – The Chautauqua Lake Erie Wine Trail and Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association announce a celebration of regional flavors in America’s Grape Country, August 9-17, 2008. The nine day event kicks off with the America’s Grape Country Wine Festival at the Dunkirk Fairgrounds, August 9-10 followed by a week filled with local produce, culinary specials, winery tours, and epicurean delights. The celebration compliments Chautauqua Institution’s week eight theme “What’s for Dinner? Food and Politics in the 21st Century.”

Starting the week, the America’s Grape Country Wine Festival will showcase some of New York State’s finest wines with live musical entertainment, food vendors, arts and crafts, a farmer’s market, and educational wine seminars. At 2 pm on Saturday, August 9th, artist, naturalist and educator, Mark Baldwin, will present a new Map of the Natural and Cultural History of the Eastern Lake Erie Grape Region. Reprints of the map will be available at the Wine Festival with donations supporting the Lake Erie Concord Grape Heritage Association, the grape and wine industries, and economic development efforts in the region.

An official Blessing of the Grapes will take place at 2:30 pm Wednesday, August 13th in Westfield’s Moore Park followed by a taste of regional flavors presented by Growers Cooperative. During Celebrate America’s Grape Country Week, several wineries along the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail will also offer special classes and demonstrations. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the wineries directly. Capping off the week will be a Local Food Heroes Event Cook-off and Tasting at the Westfield Farmer’s Market, a Peach Festival at Burch Farms in North East, PA, and Pesto Festo at Barlow’s Mill in Fredonia. A full schedule of the week’s events with winery listings and phone numbers can be found at

On Monday, August 11, Vetter Vineyards in Westfield will offer a free red wine tasting featuring their Estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Zweigelt paired with chocolate. Step into history on Tuesday with a visit to South Shore Wine Company in North East, PA at noon and 2 o’clock for tours of the unique underground wine cave and cellar. First established in 1864, South Shore was Erie County's First Commercial Winery. Penn Shore Winery in North East will also offer a lesson in Champagne at 10 am, 2 and 4 pm on Tuesday.

Quincy Cellars will host a food and wine pairing demonstration on Wednesday, August 13th at 12, 3, and 5 pm. The Ripley winery will open its full scale commercial kitchen to demonstrate techniques used at the restaurant at Quincy Cellars and how to best pair wines with menu items. Seating is limited. Reservations can be made by calling 716-736-2021 or visiting

Johnson Estate Winery will present Vineyard Walking Tours and Tastings on Wednesday, August 13th at noon and 4 pm and on Friday, August 15th at 10 am and 2 and 4 pm. The 200 plus acre Johnson Farm is nearly a century old and its winery, nearly 50 years old, is the state's oldest farm or "estate" winery. Hosted by Vineyard Manager, Rob Guzzettta and Winemaker, Jeff Murphy, the walking tours will highlight a number of the vineyards that produce award-winning wines from 115 acres of vineyards and twelve varieties of grapes. Tour goers will sample selected wines while visiting the vineyards and will learn about the unique soil composition, micro-climate, history, and future visions of the winery.

The blueberries will be ripe at Blueberry Sky Farm and Winery in Ripley where visitors can pick their own off the bushes. For an evening out, Merritt Estate Winery in Forestville will present America’s Picnic, Tuesday – Friday from 6-9 pm. A full picnic menu will be available including hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw, tuna salad, corn on the cob, pop, wine and beer. “Rick and Mick” will provide live acoustical guitar music for entertainment.

On Saturday, August 16th, the Westfield Farmer's Market will host a "Local Food Heroes Cook-Off" to celebrate local farmers and the chefs who seek out the finest fresh fruit and vegetables grown in Chautauqua County. Four local chefs will create appetizers, entrees, and desserts using products from the area. They will also pair their food with local wines. Tickets for tasting samples and voting will be available at the event.

Visit Peachy Days Saturday and Sunday at Burch Farms Country Market for everything Peach including farm fresh peach pie, peach jelly, peach bread, peach parfaits, sliced peaches to put on biscuits & shortcake, ice cream with fresh peaches on top, baskets of Farm Fresh Peaches to eat or stop by the Wine Shop and sample some Peach Wine.

Stop by the Pesto Festo, Sunday, August 17th for a taste of all kinds of pesto along with wine tasting by Liberty Vineyards, music by Viol Habits, contra dancing, wagon rides, walking tours, and games. YB Normal Farms and Graystone Nature Preserve will be on hand with some alpacas and chickens.

In addition to special tours and presentations, several regional restaurants will join the America’s Grape Country Week celebration with tasting menus, nightly specials or daily features prepared with local produce and wine. Participating restaurants include Webb’s Captain’s Table and La Fleur in Mayville, The White Inn in Fredonia, The Royal Court Dining Room at Peek’n Peak Resort & Spa in Findley Lake, and Sapore in Westfield.

The Lake Erie Grape Region is home to America’s native grapes. With 30,000 vineyard acres, this is the largest grape growing region in the United States outside of California and the oldest Concord grape growing region in the world! For a full schedule of events and specials during Celebrate America’s Grape Country Week, visit

Here's some more info:

America’s Grape Country Wine Festival ( is being held August 9 & 10, 2008 at the Chautauqua County Fair Grounds in Dunkirk, NY from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

The festival, which is growing rapidly by the day, is expected to have a tremendous turnout. Wine enthusiasts from all over should expect a weekend of fun and entertainment when they come out to support local agriculture, local commerce and enjoy great wine!

The festival will feature wines, food, arts and crafts, live local music and educational wine seminars throughout the weekend. There are currently 24 wineries from all over New York State that are scheduled to be in attendance. Each winery will have wine tasting and sales by the bottle.

The wineries attending are:

Merritt Estate Winery
Johnson Estate Winery
Thousand Islands Winery
Heron Hill Winery
Catharine Valley Winery
Casa Larga Vineyards
Montezuma Winery
White Springs Farm Estate Winery
Four Chimneys Organic Winery
Americana Vineyards & Winery
The Winery at Marjim Manor
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards
Quincy Cellars
Chateau Buffalo, LLC.
Niagara Landing Wine Cellars
Red Barn Winery
Willow Creek Winery
Sparkling Ponds Winery
Liberty Vineyards
Roberian Winery
Vetter Vineyards Winery
Woodbury Vineyards
Vizcarra Vineyards
Blueberry Sky Farm Winery

Tickets can be purchased at


$20.00 = Both Days

$15.00 = One Day

$5.00 = Designated Drivers

(Ticket price includes parking, commemorative wine glass and Taster’s Guide)

For more information on America’s Grape Country Wine Festival, call 1-800-965-4834 or visit

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