FORESTVILLE, NY (March, 2011) – Merritt Estate Winery is heading full force into their summer festival season. With the excitement come two new additions to the local organization, both ready to make this celebratory season the best yet.

            Robert Contiguglia, an area native and former owner of the White Inn in Fredonia, has been appointed as Event Coordinator.  Contiguglia will handle all of the booking, planning and catering for all events held at the winery and those that the winery is involved in off grounds.  These events include Strawberry Festival and Septemberfest, as well as private weddings, graduation parties and bridal showers to name a few.  With 15 years of experience in the field of event coordination, the position is a perfect match.  “I am very excited to be at Merritt and to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position,” said Contiguglia.  “My job is about covering all the bases and anticipating what you will need to make your event successful, and I have the experience behind me to deliver what we promise to our guests.”

            Jessi Luke, a Syracuse native and graduate of SUNY Fredonia’s Public Relations program, has been appointed as Public Relations and Promotions for the winery.  Luke will work hand in hand with sponsors and vendors and will assist in the aspects of planning and promoting events and festivals.  The position also encompasses internet promotion and advertisement, as well as assisting with off premise events.  “I really believe in this organization, and cannot wait to become involved in every aspect of it,” said Luke.  “I think that working with the public is my niche, and my education and experience have prepared me with what I need to help make each event as successful as possible.  Merritt Estate Winery is going to be the premier place to be this summer.”

            Merritt Estate Winery will kick off this season with Strawberry Festival, held the second weekend in June. This year, they will be teaming up with Buffalo Sabres alumni Rob Ray in an effort to raise money for the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Scholarship Fund.  The charity helps to provide financial support to deserving youth attending college full time in the Western New York and Ontario regions. Ray, known auspiciously as “Razor” for his intense and emotional playing style, was a fan favorite and continues to make strides in his philanthropic efforts.  America’s Grape Country Wine Festival will be held in mid August at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds, showcasing wines from dozens of wineries around the region.  Septemberfest will end Merritt’s festival season, taking place in mid September and celebrating the annual grape harvest.

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Merritt Estate is located in America’s Grape Country, the largest grape growing region of New York State located along the shores of Lake Erie. The grapes and wines produced under Merritt rival the quality of premium vintages throughout the world.

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