For Immediate Release                                                                      

Contact:  Julie Pfadt, executive director (814) 746-8414


Lake Erie Wine Country Update:

New Name, Wine and Chocolate Weekend and Visit Visa Program Announced


The Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail has been incorporated for more than a decade, and with the new year, the organization announces some big changes. To begin with, the Wine Trail is now officially known as Lake Erie Wine Country (LEWC), a consortium of 23 wineries located in America’s Grape Country between North East, PA and Silver Creek, NY. The mission of this non-profit organization is to “support and to market the wine and grape industries in Chautauqua County, New York and Erie County, Pennsylvania through the promotion of excellence in wine products, in winery and associate member facilities, and in the tourism experience in the region.”

"We believe the new name better reflects our region and eliminates confusion," said Bob Mazza, current LEWC president and owner of three regional wineries. “The new name will allow us to expand easily and become more inclusive in the future. ‘Lake Erie Wine Country’ will also benefit us on the internet, as search engines will pick us up more easily.”

In addition to the new name, LEWC officials have named a new executive director, North East, Pennsylvania native, Julie Pfadt, and they have launched an exciting, new website at A 2011 brochure/map is now available and can be picked up at LEWC wineries, at brochure stands around the region, and they can be downloaded from the new website or ordered via phone at (877) 326-6561.

Lake Erie Wine Country’s event season begins with “Bare the Barrels, a White Sale” January 14-17. The 2010 grape harvest was abundant, and wineries are eager to make room for upcoming vintages. Visitors are invited to the wineries during this four-day event to find bargains and stock up on favorite wines. Each of the wineries will promote special discounts on wine and merchandise, and many will provide snacks or entertainment. The event is free and no tickets or reservations are required. 

LEWC’s first ticketed event is their popular Wine & Chocolate Weekend, February 4, 5 and 6. New this year, Fridays have been added to the event schedule with no increase in cost. Now ticket holders have more time to spend at each of 21 participating wineries where they can enjoy a special wine paired with a delicious chocolate creation. Five “host wineries” will provide a non-chocolate food pairing to provide some savory stops. As in the past, ticket holders will receive a wine glass, recipe booklet, a $5 voucher for wine purchase and a gift.

Tickets are now on sale for Wine & Chocolate Weekend at $35 per person. They may be purchased online at or by calling (877) 326-6561. Ticket holders will plan their own itinerary, enjoying each winery at their leisure between noon-5 p.m. on Friday, February 4 and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, February 5 and 6. Transportation is not provided. Wine & Chocolate Weekend is sponsored by Dove Chocolate Discoveries.

Designated driver tickets are available for only $20 and include everything except wine and the $5 voucher.

 Finally, LEWC’s new Visit Visa, is now available! This first-edition Wine Trail coupon passport, valid for one year from purchase, provides generous discounts at wineries, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, gift shops and other local businesses. The booklet contains over $500 of retail value in wine, merchandise, and services from businesses all over Lake Erie Wine Country. The cost is only $20 each, and they can be purchased at any LEWC wineries, the North East Chamber of Commerce, the Blue Heron Inn Gift Shop in Findley Lake, and on-line via PayPal at Funds earned through sales of the Visit Visa will help Lake Erie Wine Country sustain their marketing efforts of the region. 

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