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CONTACT:  Jessi Luke, Public Relations and Promotions  Ÿ  888-965-4800

  FORESTVILLE, NY (September 26, 2011) – Wine and hockey enthusiasts came from all over Western New York to Merritt Estate Winery’s annual Septemberfest. Each year, the fall festival is held to represent the end of summer and the coming of the fall grape harvest season. Buffalo Sabres Alumni and NHL Hall of Fame inductee Pat LaFontaine joined the festival team this year in an effort to raise money for his self-founded charity, Companions in Courage.

The Companions in Courage Foundation was founded as a way to help connect hospitalized children to their family, friends and heroes through the construction of “Lion’s Den” rooms. These rooms are utilized as communication chambers to help sick and hospitalized children regain their strength and courage. LaFontaine is still very much in touch with the Western New York area, and has recently expanded the charity’s reach to the Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The hockey icon made an appearance on the Saturday of this year’s Septemberfest. He met with eager fans and autographed sports memorabilia, customized wine bottles and hockey pucks to raise money and awareness for the Companions in Courage Foundation. The customized Bella Rosa bottles are available for purchase at the winery in limited supply. Each bottle has been autographed by LaFontaine, and includes a numbered certificate of authenticity.

“Looking at the original weather forecast and being aware of the other events taking place in the area over the weekend, we seemed to have a lot going against us for this year’s Septemberfest,” said Jessi Luke, Public Relations and Promotions person for Merritt Estate Winery. “The weather cooperated and the crowds were fantastic as our winery and hockey fans came out in faithful fashion. The weekend was a spectacular success and LaFontaine was truly a pleasure to work with. He is such a people person; every fan walked away with a smile on their face.”

Event sponsors for this year’s Septemberfest included Casella Waste Management, Dunkin’ Donuts, Media One Group and Robert Basil Chevy, Buick, Cadillac of Fredonia.

Merritt Estate Winery hosts three festivals every year in June, August and September. For more information on Merritt news and events, visit or find us on Facebook at

Merritt Estate is located in Lake Erie Wine 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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