wine country

Earlier this summer, I found myself having to plan a bachelorette party near Lake Erie, and what better girls trip than wine tasting? We ended up at a quaint AirBnB in Westfield, N.Y., the home of Welch’s Grape Juice, which moved to the area in 1897 because of the area’s ideal climate for growing Concord variety grapes.

Both dry and sweet wine drinkers can find something to suit their palates, from dry Cabernet Sauvignons, rosés and Chardonnays, to sweet fruit wines and wine slushies. We first visited Johnson Estate Winery, the oldest continuously operating estate winery in New York. Then we were on to Nobel Winery, where you can catch a glimpse of Lake Erie from the back patio. Mazza Chautauqua Cellars — which also houses Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing — was a great stop for those who may not be wine drinkers but would enjoy a beer flight or spirits tasting.

Along with several wineries located only a few miles from where we were staying, the Grape Discovery Center was just a short drive away and showcases the more than 150 years of grape-growing history in northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York region. The Discovery Center also offers tastings of local wines and sells other local goods like cheeses, meats, grape juices, and grapey apparel, homewares and crafts made by local artisans.

For more information on these and other wineries in Lake Erie Wine Country, head to lakeeriewinecountry.org to plan your visit!

— Amanda Williams

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