Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation officially affirming the name change of the Chautauqua Wine Trail to the Lake Erie Wine Country Trail, the group's preferred title for marketing and promotional efforts since 2010.
Following the passage of Senate Bill 3923B/Assembly Bill 5721B this year, the legislation sponsored by Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-C-Chautauqua County, was then delivered to Cuomo and has now been signed into law.
"This law will grow economic opportunities and more prosperity for our region. Including 'Lake Erie' in the trail's title will enhance broader marketing and branding of the region for tourism, recreation, and commercial efforts. Everyone will be reminded that while enjoying our wineries and vintners, the recreational opportunities provided by Lake Erie are also close at hand, making our region an ideal vacation destination with a multitude of activities and attractions," Sen. Young said.
The name 'Lake Erie Wine Country Trail' effectively poises this wine trail, with its unique combination of Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania wineries situated amongst 30,000 acres of vineyards along the shores of Lake Erie, to be recognized nationally and internationally as a significant wine region, according to president Robert Mazza and former president and board member Jennifer Johnson of Lake Erie Wine Country.
"The Lake Erie Wine Country Trail highlights the largest concord grape growing area in the nation along with our historic and unique villages, lakes, unspoiled woods and farmland from Silver Creek to Harborcreek, Pennsylvania," Goodell said. "Since its creation in 2000, the trail has continued to grow and now includes 24 world class wineries. With this re-branding of the Chautauqua Wine Trail - now the Lake Erie Wine Country Trail - we are able to implement a joint marketing program with our friends and neighbors in Pennsylvania, bringing national attention to these great resources and spurring economic success for farms, vineyards and all businesses across Chautauqua County. In addition to our own marketing efforts, we will now also benefit from the marketing efforts of the Pennsylvania wineries, thereby making the entire region even more attractive as a destination."
The Chautauqua Wine Trail was incorporated in 2000 with just a handful of Chautauqua County wineries. By 2005, the trail had grown to include wineries in Pennsylvania and adopted the name Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail. Since 2010, Lake Erie Wine Country has been the preferred title for promotional efforts as the region has grown to offer two dozen wineries along more than 40 miles of coastal scenery.
The legislation's adoption will now officially and legally adopt the name change, as state law will be amended to recognize the wine trail along U.S. Route 20 from Interstate 90's Exit 61 near Ripley to Route 5 in Silver Creek as the Lake Erie Wine Country Trail.
"I commend the New York Wine and Grape Foundation's chairman of the board Harold Smith, Jennifer Johnson, Robert Mazza, and everyone at the Board of Lake Erie Wine Country for their devotion to promoting our wine country and for their ideas on how to better market ourselves. This name-change is another step in their wonderful work making more people aware of all that we have to offer in our region," Sen. Young said.