The easternmost winery is approximately three and a half hour drive from the westernmost.
Which wineries to visit can depend on where you are starting from, where you are staying for the evening if you are overnighting, which wineries are new to you, which wineries are your favorites, which wineries are serving something you particularly like, etc.
Visitors might wish to allot approximately 30 minutes for visiting a winery.
To find out how to "spit", click here
The Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail is found in an agricultural region about 45 miles in length along the shores of Lake Erie in western New York and Pennsylvania. The easternmost winery is approximately an hour’s drive from the westernmost on Route 20.
Four or five times a year, the Trail sponsors weekend events for which they sell tickets. These include a Wine & Chocolate, Wine & Art., Wine & Cheese, and Harvest Wine Weekends. For each weekend event, each participating winery will select one wine to feature for the weekend and will pair it with an event-inspired food which is prepared and is available for ticket holders only.
The ticket will specify one winery as a "host" winery (if you call Denise early in the ticketing cycle and preferably before you order tickets, she can often accommodate your preferences for a host winery) , where a package which includes a wineglass, gift (this Event a Wendell August Forge grape coaster), and recipe booklet will be waiting for you.
You need NOT go to the host winery first. Events are self-guided itineraries during which you may visit as many or as few wineries as you wish AND in any order, over the course of the two-day event. The wineries are open from 10-5pm both Saturday and Sunday.
This permits the ticket holder to visit wineries on Sunday - we wouldn't recommend that you try to visit all 21 in one day, however! Even visiting this many wineries during two days is a very daunting task.
If you have never done a Wine Trail Weekend, you should know that they are festive events - with an air of celebration about them. Sometimes that means that the wineries are also serving a lot of people. As a result, smaller wineries can be busy - particularly on Saturday afternoon, and so you may want to consider that as you plan your visits. Sundays are generally slightly less busy.
Wineries are open for regular business to customers without Wine Trail tickets. Please be aware that there is some congestion at peak hours (usually Saturday afternoon) at some of the wineries.
Automobile: Wine Trail Events are self-guided events during which visitors plan their own itineraries and drive themselves from winery to winery. In 2010, the Trail will sell Designated Driver tickets so that those who wish not to sample can more fully participate in the food and gift offerings.
Limousine: That said, you may hire a limousine to visit the wineries and the Trail has a group/limousine policy.
Bus: At the current time, there is no organized bus for the Trail.
The food and wine samples are not meant to be a meal - but rather just that, samples of food and wine which complement each other. Most wineries will also select an additional number of wines (1-3 perhaps) to let you sample during the event; this varies in number at the different wineries. Depending on the winery, other wines, not highlighted during the Event, may be sampled. Some of the wineries typically charge for samples (but perhaps not during the Event so please ask), some do not.
We usually publish a list of the food and wine pairings called the Gourmet’s Guide. It is released to local newspapers and is put on our website a couple of weeks before the event so that you can use it as an additional guide for planning your winery visits.
A trip to America's Grape Country is not complete without a visit to Chautauqua Institute, first established in 1874 as a vacation learning center for Sunday school teachers. It is now a thriving National Register-listed Victorian village of 750 acres on the shores of Chautauqua Lake, whose summer offerings attract thousands of people to its music, ballet, theatre, and arts programs.To the casual summer visitor, the Ale Erie Wine Trail lies in the middle of a fruit and produce paradise, with ample opportunities to pick and eat fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, plums, peaches, and apples. All summer and fall, one can easily find the best corn, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Produce stands abound and local restaurants are increasingly aware of the bounty "in their backyards". In the winter, there is down-hill and cross-country skiing, and maple sugaring to observe and taste. For outdoorsmen, there is world-class fishing (including ice fishing), hiking, and boating.