All of the Niagara Wine Trail wineries – and one cidery – would agree that the marketing inherent in their paid membership is crucial to their success. But the trail also helps spur business for the more than 50 associate members who have joined in the past five years.
“We’re located in the heart of the Niagara Wine Trail, so this is invaluable to us,” said Bev Mandaville, who owns Brookins Inn and Suites in Newfane with her husband, Dan.
“Some guests come to the inn for other reasons and the wine trail is a huge bonus for them because it’s large and awesome,” she added. “We have a great relationship with all of the wineries. The wine trail has been great for the inn and really helped with our success. Niagara Falls is still a huge draw, but the wine trail keeps people here two or three days when they used to be one-nighters.”
According to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the state’s wine industry and its spinoffs have an economic impact of more than $3.76 billion. Currently, the foundation recognizes 340 wineries and 18 separate wine trails throughout the state.
With Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s recent creation of a law extending the Niagara Wine Trail into Monroe and Orleans counties, the string of wineries in the shadow of the Escarpment and along the shores of Lake Ontario is poised to become even larger. And that means even more opportunities for the trail’s associate members.
Elizabeth Rose Maute, Niagara Wine Trail coordinator, said, “Anyone is welcome to apply to become an associate member who owns a business along the Niagara Wine Trail.
“We have associate members ranging from an olive oil store to a liquor store, and from restaurants to lodging – anybody who thinks their business would be a good place for visitors who are visiting the wine trail,” Maute added.
Maute said official trail members must carry a winery liquor license, which is dictated by percentage of alcohol in their products.
That’s why Black Bird Cider Works in Barker is a full member, for example, while Becker Brewing Company in Gasport and Woodcock Brothers Brewery in Wilson are associate members, she explained.
“For every one dollar spent at a winery, $14 is spent in the general community when you consider restaurants, hotels, gas and the like,” said Margo Sue Bittner, owner of The Winery at Marjim Manor in Appleton.
“Years ago, people kept telling us they needed the number of a limo service or they’d ask for the number of a hotel or just ask, ‘Where else can I go?’ while visiting us,” Bittner recalled. “So we came up with the idea of associate members about five years ago.”
Maute said the trail is “looking for new associate members right now for our 2014 brochure.”
“You just have to fill out a form and we have a little screening process and there is a membership fee,” she said. For more information, visit www.niagarawinetrail.com.