Niagara Gazette

June 16, 2013

Wine trail expansion OK'd by state

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Legislation authorizing expansion of the Niagara Wine Trail system is headed for Gov. Cuomo’s desk after bills were approved Thursday by the Senate and the Assembly.

The existing Niagara Escarpment Wine Trail, which follows Route 104 east from Niagara Falls to Middleport, will be extended to Route 390 in western Monroe County and renamed the “Niagara Wine Trail Ridge.”

Route 269, a state road linking routes 104 and 18 at the Niagara-Orleans county line, will be pulled off the Escarpment/Ridge trail and tacked onto the existing Niagara Wine Trail, which follows Route 18 from Somerset west to Wilson, continues south on Route 425 to Route 62 through Niagara Falls to the I-290 in Amherst. This whole thing will be renamed the “Niagara Wine Trail Lake.”

Seventeen wineries are members of the Niagara trail system now. Extension of the Ridge trail will make two existing wineries, Schwenk Wine Cellars in Kent and one near Greece, eligible to join.

Extension should encourage more visitors to Niagara County from the Rochester area, according to Niagara Wine Trail President Oscar Vizcarra. It’s closer to home for them than the Finger Lakes Wine Trail, he noted.

Money to pay for additional signage along the expanded trail system was earmarked through a 2011 Regional Economic Development Council award, according to state Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, who sponsored the Senate bill OK’ing trail expansion.

Normally, member wineries pay for trail signage. The state’s role in trail building is authorizing the boundaries, since the trail follows state highways.

State Assembly member Robin Schimminger, D-Kenmore, sponsored the Assembly version of the wine trail expansion bill. Fellow Niagara County-area representatives Jane Corwin, R-Clarence, and John Ceretto, R-Lewiston, signed on as co-sponsors.