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Southern Finger Lakes Women, a Chapter of New York State Women, Inc. (formerly the Watkins Glen Business and Professional Women-BPW/USA), is
a local chapter of "Women Helping Women."
Its Vision: To be the leading advocate for working women.
Its Mission: Building Powerful Women, Professionally, Personally, Politically through advocacy, education, and information.
SFLW meets the third Monday of the month.
For more information contact Gloria Hutchings, Membership Chair, at 607/594-2489 or

The chapter's website is




Wine & Tourism

Brought to you by
the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards enters seltzer market

Special to The Odessa File

Hector, NY, July 27, 2022 -- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has announced the release of four new wine seltzers: Red Cat Splash, White Cat Splash, Pink Cat Splash, and Red Cat Dark Splash.

Using their most popular sweet wines, the Hazlitt family has created a new line of bubbly, low-alcohol wine seltzers made with only real wine. They are offered in convenient and stylish cans perfect for any-day enjoyment. Each wine seltzer is 6.1% ABV (alcohol by volume). They are a refreshing version of their namesakes (Red Cat, White Cat, Pink Cat, Red Cat Dark wines) with a touch of carbonation.

“Creating these seltzers was a fun project. The Labrusca grapes used for the ‘Cat’ wines have the perfect flavor profile to develop into a refreshing wine seltzer,” said Tim Benedict, winemaker for Hazlitt, who noted that each wine seltzer is a beautiful representation of the original wine’s flavor profile. The only differences they have from their namesake wines, he said, are less sugar and lower alcohol, which allows them to shine as independent dry seltzer products.

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards produces dry vinifera wines but is most famous for a sweet red known as Red Cat. “Making Red Cat into a wine seltzer was a no-brainer. It’s a perfect brand extension for this fun, party wine,” said Brad Phillips, Director of Sales and Business Development. “And, adding the other three popular 'cat' wines allows us to continue to expand our brand portfolio to a larger, new audience that we have not been able to reach yet.”

Leigh Hazlitt Triner, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Co-CEO, added this: “We have wanted to offer a low-alcohol option for years. With the ready-to-drink category exploding, it felt like a great time for us to enter the market with a product that allows us to remain unique and true to our fun approach to enjoying wine. We were able to be creative and maintain the integrity of our popular Catawba, Niagara, and Concord Finger Lakes wines.”

Red Cat Splash, White Cat Splash, Pink Cat Splash, and Red Cat Dark Splash retail in 250ml cans for $3.00 each. They are available for purchase at Hazlitt winery locations: Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards in Hector, NY and Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars in Naples, NY, as well as in New York State wine and liquor stores.

Wine trail provides vacation-plan links

Special to the Odessa File

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail has a number of resources to make vacation planning easier. Please reference and share

--For the latest COVID-19-related guidance relative to wineries:

--Purchase tasting passes online:

--Consider the Wine Trail's one-day itinerary for an excursion:

-- Bookmark the calendar on the Wine Trail website:

These tools were created to help simplify and streamline the trip-planning process, but if there are additional questions, the Wine Trail Office is available: 607-535-8080 or

Tourism Alliance announces scholarship

Special to the Odessa File

PENN YAN, Sept. 20, 2020 -- The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (FLTA) and partners of the Finger Lakes business community are working together to provide financial assistance to a college student in the form of a scholarship.

This scholarship, says the FLTA, "will go to a dedicated student who is in his or her second (or beyond) year of study for tourism and hospitality, and is from the Finger Lakes region."

The FLTA and Finger Lakes business owners, the FLTA added, "understand the importance of dedicated leaders within the tourism and hospitality industry, and want to provide some financial assistance to an undergraduate student as he or she continues to learn key fundamental practices in and out of the classroom."

For more information regarding qualifications and applications, visit

The deadline to submit an application is November 15, 2020. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Founded in 1919, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is an association of private-sector attractions, tourism-related businesses and county tourism offices working together to enhance and promote visitor businesses for the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes region of New York State.

TAP application process open until Oct. 9

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Sept. 3, 2020 -- The application period for 2021 Tourism Assistance Program (TAP) funding is now open and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will be accepting applications until noon on October 9, 2020.

As Schuyler County’s designated Tourism Promotion Agency, the Chamber creates an annual tourism budget and allocates dollars to tourism programs and efforts throughout the county. Applicants must complete an application (including past recipients) and submit to the Chamber by the deadline.

Those interested may download an application at Hard copies of the application may also be picked up at the Chamber office, located at 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen. Completed forms can be submitted in person at the Chamber office or emailed to All submissions must be received no later than 12 p.m. (noon) on October 9, 2020.

Submissions will be reviewed by the TAP Committee, which is populated by the chairperson of the Chamber Board of Directors, two members of the Chamber Board of Directors, the Schuyler County Administrator, the chairperson of the Schuyler County legislature, two members of the Schuyler County legislature, the Executive Director of the Chamber, and the Tourism/Marketing Manager of the Chamber (or designee).

Applicants may be asked to make a presentation of no longer than 10 minutes to the committee. In this case, they will be advised as to the time and date. Final funding decisions will be made by the TAP Committee.

“We encourage our partners throughout the county to be creative with their proposals and submit plans that will address our community’s most pressing needs when it comes to expanding tourism,” said Michael J. Hardy, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “As we emerge from a truly challenging period, it will take every one of us pulling together to come back strong. We believe TAP funding will play a significant role in that re-emergence and we look forward to seeing what our partners have in mind.”

Hardy noted that the total amount may be different as a result of the COVID-19 impact on travel in the early part of the year.

“With the challenges of the pandemic, we do anticipate lower Bed Tax revenue for 2020,” he said. “Therefore, the amount available for TAP is likely going to be lower in 2021. But -- as in years past -- we are confident that requests, awards and expenditures are sure to drive the economy in a forward and positive direction.”

Photo in text: Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy.

Wine Trail wins Travelers' Choice Award

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 20, 2020 -- The Seneca Lake Wine Trail was recently named a Trip Advisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice Winner. The award recognizes businesses that earn consistently great user reviews.

Of the award, Executive Director Brittany Gibson said: “This was given to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, but it truly belongs to our 30 member wineries. The wineries have responded exceptionally to each and every challenge placed in their path by the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet reopening requirements, wineries have invested substantially in tents, patio furniture, umbrellas, and additional staff, training (and retraining) staff to meet guidelines and deploy required sanitization efforts.

"Despite the major changes brought on by the pandemic, visitors have discovered that this new way of doing things is, in many ways, better than ever. The high marks wineries continue to earn from visitors since reopening is proof positive of these efforts.”

Wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, a news release notes, "remain open, compliant with all pandemic rules and regulations. Seated tastings, snacks with tastings, group restrictions, and extra cleaning efforts remain in effect. For complete details on planning a visit, the Wine Trail maintains a helpful summary page titled Current Winery Offerings on its website:"

Founded in 1986, the Seneca Lake Winery Association, known publicly as the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to promoting its member wineries; to developing a spirit of cooperation between members of the association; to developing an outstanding wine producing and tourism area; to stimulating interest in wine in general and the wines of Seneca Lake, specifically; and to gaining recognition of the Seneca Lake Winery Association as an independent leader in the grape growing, wine, and tourism initiatives.

Finger Lakes documentary debuts Aug. 10

Special to the Odessa File

ROCHESTER, NY, Aug. 8, 2020 -- WXXI Public Media is premiering its latest documentary, Journeys Through the Finger Lakes, Monday, August 10, at 8 p.m. only on WXXI-TV. This co-production with the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance celebrates a region deeply rooted in history, agriculture, social change, and sustainability.

From Susan B. Anthony and the women’s rights movement, to Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad, to spotlighting a proud and resilient Native American culture, this one-hour documentary takes viewers on a journey through the vibrant history, lush topography, and seminal moments that make up this extraordinary place.

“While the Finger Lakes may be best known for award-winning wines and gorgeous waterways, this film shows that they are so much more than that,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and step up the fight for social justice and equality for all, it’s apparent that this region has an important place in history,” Silverstein added.

With spectacular drone footage and intimate, on-the-ground shots, Journeys Through the Finger Lakes presents breathtaking views of the region, while sharing stories of the people, places, and businesses that transcend the passage of time. The documentary visits more than a dozen locations including: National Women's Hall of Fame, Susan B. Anthony House, Harriet Tubman House, Ganondagan, Watkins Glen, F.L.X. Table, Glenn Curtis Museum, Cornell University, and the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

The film is also a testament to resiliency. Footage for the documentary was still being shot when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. WXXI’s production team was steadfast in their resolve to finish the film and quickly pivoted their work to abide by state-mandated safety regulations. Final shooting and interviews were completed with a limited crew who followed social distancing, mask-wearing, and other health protocols. Much of the post-production work was then done remotely from the homes of the production team. The result is a film that captures the essence of the region.

“We made sure that this film was completed and made available at a time when a beautiful and uplifting story was most needed for our community,” Silverstein said.

Journeys Through the Finger Lakes is dedicated to the memory of John Adamski, who worked tirelessly on behalf of the Finger Lakes and the Finger Lakes Museum. Mr. Adamski, a native of Irondequoit, passed away earlier this year.

To learn more about the documentary, visit Journeys Through the Finger Lakes encores Wednesday, August 12 at 6 p.m. and Friday, August 14 at 10 a.m. on WXXI-CREATE (DT 21.3/cable 1276) and Sunday, August 16 at 5 p.m. on WXXI-WORLD (DT 21.2/cable 1275).

Journeys Through the Finger Lakes is made possible with support from: the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance and I Love NY; Saunders Foundation; Nocon & Associates, an Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. private wealth advisory practice; and The Jane K. and Robert C. Stevens Fund for New Programming.

B2B Meetup features new Chamber chief

Special to the Odessa File

SCHUYLER COUNTY, July 20, 2020 -- This week's Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce B2B Meetup, scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 22 via Zoom, will be attended by Michael Hardy, the Chamber's new Executive Director.

Hardy, who succeeds Rebekah Carroll in the post, has most recently served as an independent business development consultant and the Director of Convention & Visitor Services for Visit Rochester, the official tourism promotion agency for Monroe County, New York. His experience also includes sales and marketing positions in New York City and Corning.

The event is part of a weekly series hosted by the Chamber and designed to provide information on best practices, skills development, and other content that is especially relevant to members and others in the time of COVID-19.

Attendees will also have the chance to share updates from their business or organization during a "Round the Screen" segment.

Photo in text: New Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy.

Seneca Lake wineries are getting creative

Despite travel restrictions and workforce reduction mandates, wineries aren’t slowing down

Special to the Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 8, 2020 -- In early March, the world as we know it changed dramatically here. In the weeks since, things have continued to change, and small businesses everywhere have felt the effects. The wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail are no different, and yet -- say Seneca Lake Wine Trail officials -- "they have harnessed this challenge as an opportunity!"

From unique virtual tasting opportunities to virtual vineyard tours -- "they are eager to remain connected to their wine-loving fans as well as those just looking to learn a little more about this world-renowned wine region."

A roundup of various wineries provided by the Wine Trail follows.

Zugibe Vineyards has launched a Wine of the Week (WOW) Vlog. What’s a vlog? It’s a video and a blog, hence, “vlog”. Zugibe is pairing local take-out foods with a new wine of the week on its YouTube channel at 6 p.m. Each Wednesday, the new wine of the week will go on sale at 20% off for 7 days (until the next video). Taste along:

Wagner Vineyards hosts a live virtual tasting series on Fridays at 5 p.m. They go live on their Facebook page and each week they discuss a different topic. Future topics include: “The Intersection of Wine and Beer” and “Carving a Sustainable Future.” Be sure to follow them on Facebook, so you don’t miss an episode:

Seneca Shore Wine Cellars is looking for the humor these days. 3 Chardonnays and a Rose Walk into a Bar.... Sounds like a great joke, right? But they’re missing the punch line. Do you have it?! Send them the winning punch line and win a $50 Gift Certificate! Send your punch line through their contact form by midnight EST, April 30, 2020. Punch line must be family friendly and clean enough for all of Facebook to 'hear.' Winner will be voted on by their staff and notified via email on May 1st, 2020. For complete details, please email

Rock Stream Vineyards produces wine and craft beer, but also several distilled products. They have put their distilling equipment to work making hand sanitizer! It’s available for purchase in their tasting room at the intersection of Fir Tree Point and Route 14 in Rock Stream; or call to inquire: 607-243-5395.

Lamoreaux Landing is hosting live tastings with their winemaking team at 5 p.m. every Thursday. Tastings will be simulcast on Facebook Live and Instagram Live and they’ll be answering your questions throughout the experience. Follow along by ordering a Social Media Happy Hour collection from their website. Be sure to order by the Friday before each event to ensure that you receive the wine in time to taste along! Find them on Facebook: and on Instagram @lamoreauxwine.

Lakewood Vineyards is hosting a virtual series called COOK + CORK. Each Wednesday at 8 p.m., tune into their Facebook page to see a cook-off with 3 members of their team and 3 secret ingredients including one Lakewood wine. Find Lakewood on Facebook:

Fulkerson Winery wants to help support the local food community during this crisis. When you purchase wine at the winery and present a receipt totaling $30 or more (that’s dated within one week) you’ll receive an extra 10% off of their standard wine discounts! You can order online at and select “Pick up at winery” to have it ready for pickup, or give them a call to place your order over the phone: (607-243-7883). Hours for pickup include: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Saturday/Sunday, 12 noon-5 p.m.

Fox Run Vineyards offers one of the more comprehensive vineyard tours in the region, and they’re taking it to the internet! They’ve condensed the tour you’d experience in person (usually around 45 minutes) to 7 minutes and they’re sharing out in three installments on their Facebook page. Follow them to enjoy a walk about and some learning, too:

Boundary Breaks has been keeping their followers up to date with fun and interesting behind-the-scenes-style videos. So far, they’ve talked about bubbly wines and why the glass matters, tiling the vineyard, and even tasting through new wine releases, like their ice wine! Find them on Facebook and live vicariously through their short video posts:

Atwater Estate Vineyards has unveiled something for the daring wine drinker! Mystery Boxes featuring a red option and a white option. Limited availability -- only 15 cases of each are available. Three bottles of red or three bottles of white for $110 including shipping. To learn more and order a mystery box yourself, visit: and

Find these events (and more) as well as a handy reference to the various winery discounts and shipping promotions on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail website:

Founded in 1986, the Seneca Lake Winery Association, known publicly as the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to promoting its member wineries; to developing a spirit of cooperation between members of the association; to developing an outstanding wine producing and tourism area; to stimulating interest in wine in general and the wines of Seneca Lake, specifically; and to gaining recognition of the Seneca Lake Winery Association as an independent leader in the grape growing, wine, and tourism initiatives.

Finger Lakes-themed silk lantern festival planned in Hector area starting in August

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 28, 2020 -- A Chinese-style silk lantern festival proposed last year and rejected for Havana Glen Park in Montour Falls is now on track to operate from August through October on wooded grounds owned by Grist Iron Brewing Company owner Bill Allington off of Route 414 in the Town of Hector.

The "Finger Lakes Fantasy of Lights" festival, with silk figures stories high affixed to metal frames and emanating colorful lights in a themed format, was announced this week by AllPark Solutions, Inc. at the annual meeting of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

The plan was outlined by Robert Montgomery of AllPark Solutions, the meeting's keynote speaker. He discussed his company's success with creating such festivals at various other sites around the world, and the planned timeline for this one -- which, assuming first-year success, envisions a longer operating period (say August through December) in future years.

Other similar efforts by AllPark -- in the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Japan -- have proved to be successful repeating events (with annually changing themes and sets) that have existed for up to nine seasons, he said, with a range of 150,000 to 300,000 visitors per year. "And looking at the opportunities in this market," he added, the attendance expectation would fall within that range.

Chinese lantern festivals date back some 2,000 years in China -- where the workers who create current-day festival structures are recruited.

The festivals have nothing to do with small lanterns draped along a walkway: these are huge displays, with some structures in AllPark festivals reaching four or five stories high. In the words of one article covering an Ohio festival, “while they are called lanterns, they are really huge sculptures created by hand using silk fabric, steel frames, and tens of thousands of LED lights.”

According to on-line accounts, the "lanterns" are not only huge, but colorful and thematic -- sometimes reflecting the history and architecture of China, and other times reflecting American or European culture. They require a large space -- hence a park like that proposed earlier at Havana Glen or the wooded terrain behind the Grist Iron Brewing Co. -- and an infrastructure, and paved walkways so the visiting public can walk easily through the panorama of color and soft music without getting stuck in muddy terrain.

The area selected behind the Grist Iron will, says Montgomery, entail "a one-mile illuminated night-time forest walk" past hundreds of seasonal, themed structures "and millions of lights." The walk, he said, could take "two-and-a-half to three hours" to complete, with participants stopping to take photos and marvel at the displays.

The aim is to build repeat business off a $21 or $22 entry fee, and to appeal to a regional audience, not to mention some of the many tourists who now visit the area for the Watkins Glen State Park gorge and for the dozens of wineries that have developed around Seneca Lake in the past 20 years.

AllPark, Mongomery added, hopes to "build partnerships with other businesses" in the area. One obvious one is the Grist Iron, which he said is hoping attendees eat dinner there before their walk and drink there afterward. "We think that's going to happen pretty naturally," he said.

These festivals are normally located in larger population centers, but Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director SCOPED, has envisioned this as something that can both play off existing tourist traffic, attract new visitors and succeed on its own smaller terms. While disappointed when rebuffed by the Montour Town Board on the Havana Glen proposal (the board oversees that park), she -- along with Montgomery (an Ottawa resident) -- simply started looking at other potential sites.

Enter Bill Allington, who Montgomery and Cherry thanked profusely at Wednesday's annual meeting for his support, with Cherry saying: "Hats off to you for taking us into a whole new event."

As part of the preparation, Montgomery noted, Allington is "shaping a parking lot" with a path "leading to the top of his property." From there, the festival, with many lighted structures, will wind on paths through a section of wooded land 18 to 20 acres in size.

Montgomery, Cherry and Lisa Ferraro, a member of the SCOPED board who heads up its Business Attraction Committee, expressed unbridled enthusiasm during the annual meeting regarding the festival and its potential economic ripple effects.

"This is the 31st or 33rd show we will have produced," said Montgomery, although "the first time we're coming to a smaller community." Despite that difference in community size, "we believe it's a great market." AllPark will be spending $100,000 in marketing as the opening nears, with a key target audience being other counties in the region.

Montgomery said the festival set-up would begin in June, and involve about 40 Chinese nationals brought to the U.S. on work visas (from a locale in China so far free of the coronavirus). They are artisans long experienced in silk lantern festivals. Once they are done, three or four would remain through the festival period for maintenance. A local work force would not likely exceed 15 people, with only a half-dozen on so needed on any festival evening.

"The first shipment of materials and lanterns has already arrived," he said, with three more shipments due in March and "the balance in June."

The size and scope of the festival "is difficult to describe," Montgomery told the meeting attendees, noting that it is something you need "to see live" to fully comprehend, for "it is really unique."

If the first year proves successful, he said, subsequent festival periods -- each year with new structures, new theme and new lighting -- would start with a July setup and run from August until possibly Christmas and beyond. The first year's theme will be Finger Lakes-related, he added, although he would not reveal what that specifically will be.

Marketing touting that theme will hit the media and social media outlets as the startup date nears. That, and word of mouth, should carry the experience into the realm of success, he suggested.

"We think we can have a successful show," he concluded.

Photos in text:

Top: Robert Montgomery delivers the keynote address at the SCOPED annual meeting.
Second: Scene from video presentation of a Chinese lantern festival.
Third: AllPark Solutions logo.
Fourth: SCOPED Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry with Montgomery.
Fifth: Grist Iron Brewing Company owner Bill Allington shares a laugh at the meeting.

Noms sought for annual Chamber Awards

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 22, 2019 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will be presenting its 2019 annual awards at the 2020 Winter Gala on January 18. Nominations are being sought for four awards, including the Community Spirit Award, the Leader in Business Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Max Neal Award.

The award criteria for consideration are listed below. Community members are invited to nominate deserving individuals!

Community Spirit Award -- must be awarded to a business and/or individual that has demonstrated leadership and excellence in philanthropy; must have encouraged civic initiatives, and/or facilitated humanitarianism; made a significant contribution within the last five years; positively impacted the community in which the business operates.

Leader in Business Award -- must have made a dynamic contribution to the Schuyler County business community within the last decade; must have expanded the business mix in Schuyler County; continues to foster economic opportunity such as creating new job opportunities; must have assumed considerable risk; highly respected entrepreneur.

Lifetime Achievement Award -- may include a successful partnership of one or more persons; must own or manage a local business and have taken business risks to create jobs or trade over a period of time; must have demonstrated staying power as an established business; must be actively involved in community and civic organizations in Schuyler County over the last 15 years; must be of the stature as to keep the award prestigious and complement past/future winners; must be respected and recognized throughout the community; and must be a resident or own/manage a business in Schuyler County.

The Max Neal Award -- must have demonstrated consistent dedication, selflessness, faith, determination, and solid support in the future and well-being of the Chamber; must have made it clear to the Community that they recognize the Chamber as their Schuyler County organization of choice; is an amazing investor and mentor into the future leadership of Schuyler County; must be well-respected, highly honored and beloved by the residents of Schuyler County; and must have served on a committee or the board of directors or been employed by the Chamber for a minimum of five years.

Nomination forms can be found on the Chamber website:

Please note that past recipients are listed on the nominations forms. The deadline for the receipt of the nominations is October 31, 2019, and they should be emailed to

Gorge Around Gorge Restaurant Week set

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 22, 2019 -- Gorge Around the Gorge Restaurant Week is a week-long event that will celebrate the delicious offerings of restaurants within the Finger Lakes Region.

This event will take place October 28 through November 3 . Participating restaurants will partner with the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce to offer $15 lunch and $25 or $35 dinner specials during this first-time celebration.

The following restaurants are participating in this inaugural event:

-- 3812 Bistro at Lakeside Resort

-- Blue Pointe Grille Watkins at Glen Harbor Hotel

-- Sapalta at Plum Point Lodge

-- Hill Top Inn Restaurant, Banquets, & Catering

-- Been There - A Community Cafe

-- F.L.X. Wienery

-- Jerlando's Ristorante & Pizza Co.

-- Nickel's Pit BBQ

For more information, and menus from the participating restaurants, visit the Chamber’s website at

Reservations are not required.

The event is organized by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union. Check the Chamber’s Facebook page for the latest news about it. For more information, call the Chamber at 607-535-4300 or email the Chamber at

Friday on Franklin gives nod to Father's Day

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 24, 2019 -- Celebrate Father's Day a little early at the Friday on Franklin event on Friday, June 7 from 5-8 p.m. in downtown Watkins Glen.

"We’ve even reduced the modest ticket price by 50%," says the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, "so attendees need only pay $5 each. We know dads tend to be thrifty, after all!"

Local celebrities and popular residents will be pouring, rain or shine, and "we'll even have a fun contest revolving around the pourers," says the Chamber, noting the event wine glass, wrist band, and map can all be picked up the evening of the event at the Chamber's Visitor Center, 214 N. Franklin Street. Friday on Franklin events are sponsored by the Chemung Canal Trust Company. The list of participating business are as follows:

--Watkins Glen Promotions hosting Oil Me Healthy.
--Warren Real Estate hosting Lakewood Vineyards.
--Fresh Start Watkins Glen hosting Highland Chocolates.
--Franklin Street Gallery & Gift Shop hosting Miles Wine Cellars.
--Rasa Spa hosting Three Brothers Wineries and Estates.
--GRAFT offering tastings from Atwater Vineyards.
--Quest Adventure Gaming hosting Hickory Hollow Wine Cellars.
--Crystal City Olive Oil offering tastings of their specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

Begin at the Chamber, where you'll get your tasting glass, wrist band, and map of stops. "Then head out on your way tasting, sampling, and rocking through downtown," says the Chamber. "Friday on Franklin is a great way to kick off the weekend, all while supporting downtown shops and local businesses."

Chateau LaFayette Reneau wins 7 Golds

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, March 7, 2019 -- Chateau LaFayette Reneau wines were recently awarded seven Gold medals at the Jerry D. Mead’s New World International Wine Competition, which took place in Ontario, California on February 24 and 25.

In addition to a Gold medal, their 2017 Late Harvest Riesling received Best of Varietal and Best of Class honors. Other Gold medal-winning wines include their 2017 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, 2017 Non-Oaked Chardonnay, 2017 Proprietor’s Chardonnay, Seyval Chardonnay, 2017 Semi-Dry Riesling, and 2018 Pinot Noir Rose.

"We are thrilled with the results of this year’s competition for our 2017 vintage whites and 2018 Pinot Noir Rose,” said Winemaker Tim Miller. “We are proud to produce consistent, award-winning wines, and to be recognized once again by the New World International Wine Competition."

The competition was established in 1991 by wine columnist, publisher, and consultant Jerry D. Mead, along with Bill Anthony and Eileen Tillery. The competition is open to wines produced anywhere in the world and open to all varietals. The wines are judged by price category to determine an overall best of variety in a “double-blind” format, meaning the judges do not know the identity of the wines they taste, nor do they have a list of entered wines prior to judging. For more information, visit

Pasta and wine pairings planned on Trail

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 21, 2019 -- The Seneca Lake Wine Trail will host Pasta and Wine Weekend March 22-24, 2019. This self-guided tour will take participants to 25 wineries along Seneca Lake. Each stop will feature a wine of their choice paired with a pasta-themed dish.

"This is a great opportunity," said the Seneca Lake Winery Association in a press release, "to taste your way along the Trail while collecting unique, new recipes to try."

Sample recipes include tortellini minestrone, pasta with pancetta, soba noodle salad, horseradish and smoked bacon pasta, fresh sage pesto alfredo with shredded paprika chicken, penne chicken Florentine, and cavatappi with butter squash and sage brown cream sauce. These dishes will be served with carefully selected wines, to showcase both the wine and the food.

Tickets are $40 per person for tickets that include wine tasting. The Association encourages the use of designated drivers and offer tickets for them at $30 each. All tickets are on sale now on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail website: Questions? Call the Seneca Lake Wine Trail Office at 607-535-8080.


Founded in 1986, the Seneca Lake Winery Association, known publicly as the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to promoting its member wineries; to developing a spirit of cooperation between members of the association; to developing an outstanding wine producing and tourism area; to stimulating interest in wine in general and the wines of Seneca Lake, specifically; and to gaining recognition of the Seneca Lake Winery Association as an independent leader in the grape growing, wine, and tourism initiatives.

Chateau LaFayette Reneau wins honors

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Feb. 15, 2019 -- Chateau LaFayette Reneau’s 2017 Dry Riesling was named the winner of the Riesling Challenge at the recent International Eastern Wine Competition held in Sonoma County, California.

In addition, their 2017 Dry and 2017 Semi-Dry Rieslings received Double Gold and Best of Class awards.

2017 Dry Riesling: Double Gold, Best in Class, 96 Points, Winner of the Riesling Challenge
2017 Semi-Dry Riesling: Double Gold, Best in Class, 94 Points

The International Eastern Wine Competition (IEWC), launched in 1975, is one of the oldest and longest running wine competitions in the nation.

In 2019, there were 68 East Coast wineries competing with 378 wines, 31 of which received Best of Class awards. Chateau LaFayette was awarded two of only three Best of Class honors given to Finger Lakes wines and won the Eastern Riesling Challenge.

Friday on Franklin will return on March 1 with downtown food and wine/beer pairings

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 15, 2019 -- The first “Friday on Franklin” of 2019 is scheduled for March 1. The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting area residents and visitors to the Finger Lakes to beat the winter blues and enjoy shopping and a series of food and wine/beer pairings up and down Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen.

Time: 5-8 p.m.
Date: Friday, March 1
Location: Start at 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen

The Chamber says attendees should begin at The Chamber offices (214 N. Franklin Street), where they can purchase their souvenir tasting glass, wrist band, and a map of all participating locations. It costs $10 to participate, and those who visit every stop will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a prize. Attendees must be 21 or older to participate.

The event will feature live music by The Sweats from 6-8 p.m. in the courtyard between the GRAFT Wine + Cider Bar and Glen Mountain Market. In the event of inclement weather, they will perform inside the Chamber’s Visitor’s Center.

The following is a current list of scheduled locations and offerings:



Fresh Start Watkins Glen

Cupcakes and cinnamon rolls from Sweet Bottoms Cupcakes & Buns

Microgreens from Silver Fox Farms

Franklin Street Gallery and Gift Shop

Wine tastings from Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards

El Rancho Mexican Restaurant

Tastings from the El Rancho menu

Quest Adventure Gaming

Wine tastings from J.R. Dill Winery

Rasa Spa Watkins Glen

Wine tastings Lakewood Vineyards

Watkins Glen Wine & Spirits

Tastings of craft liquor and spirits from Finger Lakes Distilling

Inner Peace Floats

Wine tastings from Hector Wine Co.

Nickel’s Pit BBQ

Beer tastings

Rooster Fish Brew Pub

Beer tastings and chocolate form Highland Chocolates

Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce

Essential oils from Oil Me Healthy

Chamber announces scholarship guidelines

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 15, 2019 -- The Business and Education Committee of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the guidelines for its 2019 scholarship competition.

Any graduating senior (class of 2019) who is a resident of Schuyler County OR enrolled at Bradford, Odessa-Montour, or Watkins Glen Central School Districts is eligible to apply for this $1,000 scholarship.

To apply, students must complete an application and submit a response to one of the three topics selected by the committee by April 30. Applicants may submit their response in one of three formats: a 1,000-2,000 word essay; a 3-5 minute video; a slideshow (Prezi or Powerpoint only) of at least 12 slides.

The three topics from which applicants may choose are:

1. What are some things Schuyler County can do to attract young adults and recent college graduates to move to and settle in the area?

2. Identify an opportunity to improve the quality of life for Schuyler County residents. Make recommendations for how that can be accomplished.

3. What do you think is the single greatest problem facing society today? Why?

Applicant responses may be sent to: Rebekah Carroll, President & CEO, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891 or to

Wine Trail names Gibson Executive Director

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 4, 2018 -- The Executive Committee of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail has announced that Brittany Gibson has been selected to lead the organization as Executive Director.

A native of Dundee, NY, and a graduate of Ithaca College, Gibson has years of experience in both the wine and tourism industries. She was Advertising Director and Wine Club Manager at Fulkerson’s Winery for 10 years before serving as Tourism and Marketing Manager at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Says Gibson: "I couldn't be more honored and excited to be selected as the Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. The organization has enjoyed much success already under great leadership and an enthusiastic, creative membership. I look forward to continuing that trend and I'm eager to get to work!" Gibson will start with the wine trail the last week of November.

Elizabeth Stamp, President of the Wine Trail, notes “Brittany’s talent and passion will ensure the Seneca Lake Wine Trail members continue to be recognized as producers of high quality wines offering outstanding experiences for visitors.”

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail, founded in 1986, is an association of 34 member wineries located around Seneca Lake.

Photo in text: Brittany Gibson (Photo provided)

Atlas Brick Oven to mark 1st anniversary

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 1 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will join in celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria in Watkins Glen on Friday, June 15 at 5 p.m.

Atlas Pizzeria’s original location in Corning served as inspiration for opening their second location in Watkins Glen in 2017. The celebration will be led by Chamber of Commerce Board President Paul Thomas, County Administrator Tim O’Hearn, and Watkins Glen Village Mayor Sam Schimizzi.

In addition to the short program on Friday evening, there will be in-house specials and a happy hour that will last all day Friday and through the weekend, including live music by PA Line on Friday from 8-10 p.m.

Says owner Peter Bennett: “We are so proud to be part of the community here in Watkins Glen. It’s been a great first year and we are looking forward to celebrating with our friends and neighbors!”

Chamber President and CEO Rebekah Carroll adds: “It’s always wonderful to mark these special milestones with our Chamber members. We look forward to seeing everyone come out to show their support and offer their congratulations to Peter and his team on a great first year ... and many more!”

The anniversary celebration is free to attend and open to the public. Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria is located at 304 N. Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.

Chamber plans Connections Luncheon

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 26, 2018 -- Chamber Connections Luncheons are a new benefit that the Chamber is offering to both potential and current members in 2018! These luncheons are relatively short and informal, but offer various opportunities.

Date: Monday, May 7, 2018
Time: 12 noon-2 p.m. 
Location: Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Room, 214 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen.

"Potential members," says the Chamber, "can learn about the benefits of Chamber membership, meet potential and current members and hear directly from them about their experience, as well as network with potential business partners.

"Current members can learn more about the benefits of Chamber membership, to ensure that they are leveraging all of the benefits that are available to them and also meet fellow members to explore potential partnerships and business connections. Plus, this is a wonderful chance to interact with Chamber staff and keep them informed of your business developments, needs, and more."

Lunch will be provided for $5. RSVP by May 4 to Membership Services Manager Meredith Williams at 607-535-4300 or 

These luncheons are held monthly. Says the Chamber: "We encourage you to attend as many as you are able to! Each luncheon will offer different faces and different businesses in the mix. Be sure to bring a friend or a colleague to make the most out of the terrific networking opportunity!"

Chamber, Sheriff offer FAIR Training

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 26, 2018 - The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department for a special education forum entitled FAIR Training (Fundamentals of Alcohol Recognition).

The forum is open to the public and taught by Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman and Undersheriff Breck Spaulding. The training features a power point presentation, lecture, and question-and-answer period. A guide book will be provided by E.C. Cooper Insurance.

Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Location: Montour Moose Lodge, 2096 State Route 14, Montour Falls.

The forum will provide training to those businesses in the community that serve alcohol. Most insurance companies require a seminar of this caliber. A certificate will be provided to participants upon successful completion of this presentation.

Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman said, “The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office is committed to training local businesses and their employees on the laws and liabilities of serving alcohol. Awareness and what to do are the key things to take away from this seminar.”

Please RSVP your intentions to attend the FAIR Training to Chamber Events Manager Anna Rainous via email: or call (607) 535-4300.

Chamber, school seeking Job Fair vendors

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 21, 2018 -- Watkins Glen High School and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce have come together to promote the Job and College Fair being held at the high school on May 17.

Date: Thursday, May 17, 2018
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m
Where: Watkins Glen Central High School (New Gym), 301 12th St., Watkins Glen

This, says the Chamber in a press release, "is a great opportunity for area employers and college admissions officers to meet local high school students."

Career and Technical Education Teacher and Work Based Learning Coordinator Kathleen Popovich has helped organize the event, and notes: “This is a great opportunity to meet Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour High School students -- potential employees -- and secure workers for your upcoming season!”

Chamber President and CEO Rebekah Carroll adds: “Our vision as the Chamber of Commerce is to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of our business community. Introducing the next generation of the workforce to their future employers, colleges, and other agencies is a first step in carrying out that vision. We are passionate about helping students make connections today that will help them succeed tomorrow.”

Advance registration is required by May 11. There is no fee for vendors to participate. For booth availability and reservations, contact Events Manager Anna Rainous at 607-535-4300 or email

Chamber to host customer service training

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 15, 2018 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce's Tourism Taskforce will present a TALES (Tourism and Leisure Exchange Summit) Customer Service and Hospitality Training on Tuesday, May 22 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

The event -- whose theme is "Your town is their adventure!" -- will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

What is it: This day of seminars will focus on the keys of providing great customer service, outstanding hospitality, and building customer relationships. Happy, satisfied customers spend more money, make more return visits, and tell their friends about their experience with businesses they love. Attendees will leave with tools they need to provide a stellar experience to all guests and thereby increase their business's bottom line.

Who should attend: Frontline staff and managers from restaurants, retail shops, tasting rooms, salons, lodging facilities, museums, galleries, and beyond! This isn't just limited to tourism-based businesses. Anyone who interacts with the public on a daily basis should find this training valuable -- taking away new and improved skills, fresh ways of thinking, and real-world knowledge that can be implemented right away.

How much does it cost? $75 per person for Chamber members, $100 for non-Chamber members.

For information including seminar topics and access to the registration form, visit: If you have any questions, call 607-535-4300 or email

Chamber welcomes 66 new members

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 9, 2018 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is welcoming 66 new members to the organization. New members will be recognized during the 2018 New Member Breakfast on May 4 at Seneca Harbor Station in Watkins Glen.

These businesses and organizations include:

401 Espresso
Altay Old Home Days Corp.
Alternatives Federal Credit Union
Alzheimer’s Association
Rochester Chapter
Appleridge Senior Living Organization
Arnot Realty
Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria
Beth Decaro - Warren Real Estate
Black Sheep Inn and Spa
Bobby K Entertainment
BOSS Security and Automation
CASA of the Southern Tier, Inc.
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
Clinical Associates of the
Southern Tier
Country Home & Gifts
Cybertech Automation USA
Damiani Wine Cellars
Domaine LeSeurre Winery
F.L.A.V.O.R. Studio
Finger Lakes Radio Group
Finger Lakes Sign & Design
Finger Lakes Soap Company
Flower Divas of Montour Falls
FLX Collaborative
Forge Cellars
Green Parasol Group
Haefele TV
Handsome Young Ladies
Help Coach Me, Inc.
Hickory Grove Apartments
Jen Oliver, Arbonne Independent Consultant
Kleen Sweep
La Bourgade on Seneca
League of Women Voters
Local 62
Longview Farm
Lyons National Bank
M&T Bank
Orchard Place
Phoenix Graphics, Inc.
Rasa Spa
Rasta Ranch Vineyards
Reel Stories Fishing Charters
Rock Stream House
Scale House Brewery
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
Seneca Signature Scents
Seneca Terrace Apartments
Short Hook Charter
Silver Key Yoga Studio
SJ Seneca Rentals LLC
Stompin’ Good Times
Sweet Sarah’s
Technology Research Council (TRC)
The Lamplighter
The Montour Falls 1860 Farmhouse
The Red Kettle Inn Bed & Breakfast
Tioga State Bank
Upstate Research Rocketry Group (URRG)
Warren Real Estate
Wheeler’s Catering
Wide Awake Bakery
William J. Sitzman Consulting Radio Engineer
Wine & Design

The New Member Breakfast is an opportunity for the Chamber staff and current members to welcome new members and network with colleagues. A brief program will be presented by Rebekah Carroll, Chamber President and CEO. The program will include an overview of Chamber programs, new member benefits, and other opportunities available through the Chamber. All new members should be prepared to give a brief overview of their business.

When: Friday, May 4, 2018
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Location: Seneca Harbor Station, 3 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY

 The event is sponsored by Chemung Canal Trust Company and hosted by the Membership Committee of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. New members (up to two representatives per business) are invited to attend at no charge. Veteran members may attend for $20 per person. Advance registration is required. Contact Meredith Williams at the Chamber at (607) 535-4300 or

Seminar set on becoming business owner

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 6, 2018 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will host a two-part seminar titled “Becoming a Business Owner 101” presented by Alternatives Federal Credit Union Business Cents on May 14 and 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both days at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen.

Here is a bit more about this course, from Alternatives:

About The Class

Becoming a Business Owner 101 is presented by the Alternatives Federal Credit Union Business Cents. The course will cover typical requirements and challenges of starting and operating a business, ranging from product and service development to business planning and financing. Additional topics discussed are business structure, regulatory and legal issues and lifestyle impacts. Each participant will complete a personal skills assessment and is strongly encouraged to sign up for follow-up free one-on-one consultations with our Business Consultants to help develop an action plan specific to his or her own business development.

Who is the class best suited for?

"If you are considering starting a business and need to understand a full range of challenges and opportunities you will be facing, this class is for you," says Alternatives in a press release. "We will spend a lot of time providing an overview of the most common issues contributing to success or failure. The class is structured to allow participants to identify their strengths, as well as weak areas where they will need to find support. Upon completion, you should feel equipped to make a determination to move ahead with your dream, or perhaps come to a realization that becoming a business owner may not be for you."

The class will involve lectures, group activities, and lots of discussion and interaction.

Is this class right for you?

This may not be ideal for you, says Alternatives, if:

  • You are exploring multiple business ideas.
  • You are not comfortable sharing and working in groups.
  • You are a business owner with a few specific questions pertaining only to your current situation.
  • You cannot attend for the entire duration of the course.

"If any of these apply to you, you may gain a larger benefit from directly signing up for a free one-on-one consultation," Alternatives says. This can be done by clicking here.

Refund Policy

The class has limited enrollment and is kept small to ensure quality training and interactions. "Therefore, we only grant refunds in emergency situations," Alternatives says.

The registration is $150 and includes lunch on both days. You can register here:

Chamber plans 'Connections' luncheon

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 19, 2018 -- The Watkins Glen Aea Chamber of Commerce is planning one in a series of Chamber Connections Luncheons from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Monday, March 5 in the Chamber Conference Room, 214 N. Franklin St. Lunch is provided.

Connection Luncheons are a benefit that the Chamber is offering to both potential and current members. They are, a Chamber spoeksperson said, "relatively short and informal, but they offer powerful opportunities."

Here, the Chamber says, are 4 reasons to attend:

1. Learn about the benefits of Chamber membership. "Make sure you are taking advantage of these benefits and maximizing your investment."
2. Meet potential and current members. "These are potential business connections and customers."
3. Interact with Chamber staff and "keep them informed of your business developments, needs, and more."
4. Network, network, network. This luncheon "is the most unique and fun way to network! Be prepared to share with attendees for five minutes about your business and to make connections immediately."

Participation is free and membership is not required to attend! Advance registrations are requested, though walk-ins are also welcome. RSVP by Friday, March 2 to Membership Services Manager Meredith Williams at 607-535-4300 or CLICK HERE to email your RSVP.

"We encourage you to bring a friend or colleague," the Chamber adds. "The more, the merrier!"

Chamber announces scholarship topics

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Feb. 5, 2018 -- As it has for many years, the Business and Education Committee of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is offering a $1,000 scholarship to any graduating senior who is a resident of Schuyler County or attends Bradford, Odessa-Montour, or Watkins Glen Central School Districts.

To apply, students must complete an application and submit a response by March 30 to one of the three topics selected by the committee. These topics are:

1. If you were to open a business in Schuyler County, what would it be? Why? Where would it be located? How would you cover the expenses of the business?

2. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

3. What are your thoughts on the evolution of the cell phone and/or social media?

Applicants may use one of three options to answer the topic questions: a 500-1500 word essay, a 3-to-5-minute video, and/or a slideshow (using Prezi or PowerPoint) of at least 12 slides.

Completed applications and accompanying responses must be submitted by March 30 to the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, 214 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891. For additional information, contact Rebekah Carroll at the Chamber at (607) 535-4300 or email:

Fabrizi will become FLTA Board Chair

Special to The Odessa File

PENN YAN, Dec. 20, 2016 -- With the New Year, Heather Davidson’s term as Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance Board Chair will end along with the Vice-Chair term on FLTA’s Executive Committee.

Coleen Fabrizi of Corning’s Gaffer District will become the new Chair effective at the January Board Meeting on January 16, 2017. Alongside Fabrizi will be John Socha representing Yates County and the Showboat Motel taking over as vice-chair. Sarah Wiles and Gene Pierce will retain their positions as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Heather Davidson will remain on the Executive Committee as the Past Chair to round out the Executive Committee.

The Board of Directors currently consists of 18 voting representatives, one representative from each of the 14 counties that make up the Finger Lakes and four At Large representatives. For a full list of FLTA Board Members, visit

The only member of the FLTA Board of Directors whose term is ending is Bonnie Hays of Historic Palmyra. The Nominating Committee is still in search of an appropriate representative from Wayne County to replace Hays.

Although FLTA Executive Committee and board members are selected by the Nominating Committee, any partner can participate in the FLTA Marketing Committee that sets the direction of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance marketing efforts. If an organization wants to become a partner business, it can call the FLTA offices at 315-536-7488 or email the Director of Sales, Marianne Rosica-Brand, at

Founded in 1919, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is recognized as one of the first destination-marketing organizations in the United States. FLTA is an association of private-sector attractions, tourism-related businesses and partnering county tourism offices working together to enhance and promote visitor businesses for the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes region of New York State.

Chateau LaFayette Reneau earns Cup win

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Dec. 1, 2016 -- Chateau LaFayette Reneau won a Jefferson Cup for its 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling at the recent 17th Annual Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition, which took place in Kansas City, Missouri on November 17 and 18.

With the addition of this recent award, winemaker Tim Miller celebrates a career total of five Jefferson Cups during his tenure at Chateau LaFayette Reneau.

"We are honored to receive the Jefferson Cup for our 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling,” said Miller. “As a winemaker, I'm proud to produce consistent, award-winning wines, and proud to be recognized by the Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition."

The Jefferson Cup is an invite-only wine competition in which over 700 wines are pre-selected to be judged, culminating with the awarding of the prestigious Jefferson Cups. The estate-grown and bottled 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling received one of five Jefferson Cups awarded to a white vinifera wine in the competition, and was one of two Finger Lakes wines to earn a Jefferson Cup. Twenty-four in total were awarded to vinifera and non-vinifera red, white, and dessert wines across nine states. For more information, visit

Glenora wins honors at Calif. competition

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Nov. 15, 2016 -- Glenora Wine Cellars has received an award for its 2015 Dry Riesling, which won both a Double Gold and "Best White Vinifera" honors at the 2016 American Wine Society (AWS) Commercial Wine Competition on November 2-3 in Costa Mesa, California.

The AWS is the largest consumer-based wine education organization in the United States and its Commercial Wine Competition is one of the longest running wine competitions in the country.

“I am pleased that our Dry Riesling received this very respectable recognition from the American Wine Society,” said Steve DiFrancesco, Winemaker at Glenora Wine Cellars. “The grapes for this wine were sourced from Glenora Farms, Dalrymple Farms, and Zugibe Vineyards on Seneca Lake, and Sunrise Hill Vineyard on Cayuga Lake, resulting in a blend that highlights the pleasing aromatic flavors that are making wines from the Finger Lakes famous."

In addition to the 2015 Dry Riesling accolades, Glenora Wine Cellars received the following awards:

Silver -- 2015 Black Diamond Express
Bronze -- 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 Pinot Blanc

To learn more about the American Wine Society, visit. For a complete listing of competition results, visit

Chamber holds wine, tourism summit

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, May 6 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated travel and tourism in Schuyler County with the Schuyler Summit in honor of National Travel and Tourism Week on May 5, 2016.

Date: Thursday, May 5
Time: 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Location: Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, 214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY.

National Travel and Tourism Week -- America's annual salute to travel and tourism -- was established by a congressional resolution in 1983. This week of events serves to champion the power of the travel and tourism industry. Travel and tourism professionals from across the nation work throughout the week to promote the contributions their travel markets and organizations make to the U.S. economy. The travel community marks the event in a number of ways, from staging local rallies and conducting media outreach to securing proclamations and resolutions from local governments.

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce offered several informative seminars as part of an entire day of programming. Seminar timing and topics included:

8:30-9:30 a.m.: Best Practices for Trip Advisor presented by Brittany Gibbs, Tourism & Marketing Manager of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.
9:45-10:45 a.m.: Hiring Summer Staff presented by Peter Honsberger, Owner of The Great Escape & Everything Ice Cream.
11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Best Practices for Social Media presented by Brittany Gibbs, Tourism & Marketing Manager of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.
1:15-2:15 p.m.: Chamber Membership 101 for Tourism-Based Membership presented by President/CEO Rebekah LaMoreaux and Membership Services Manager Meredith Williams of the Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce.

Members and non-members alike were invited to attend one seminar, two seminars, or the entire day of programming. Members could attend the Schuyler Summit at no charge. There was a $5 fee per non-member per seminar, plus a $5 fee for lunch. The event culminated in a celebratory toast and cake at 2:30 p.m.

Maryland man wins Cover Photo Contest

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Dec. 21, 2015 -- The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce has named Mickey Coviello of Baltimore, Maryland the winner of its 2016 Travel Guide Cover Photo Contest. Coviello's photo features the iconic Triple Cascades in Watkins Glen State Park, one of the most visited state parks in New York.

This image will grace the cover of 125,000 copies of the Official 2016 Watkins Glen and Schuyler County Travel Guide. The contest was launched on the Visit Watkins Glen and Schuyler County Facebook Page over the summer. Entries came from across the state and the country; overall, 24 photos were entered.

After reaching over 22,000 people on Facebook, the three photos with the most “likes” moved onto the next round. The Tourism Committee of the Chamber then voted to select the cover.

Said Coviello upon learning that his photo was selected: “I’m honored and humbled. A big thanks to everyone who voted for my photograph. Everyone should visit Watkins Glen State Park and marvel at the beauty of hundreds of thousands of years of natural evolution.”

Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism and Marketing Manager Brittany Gibbs, who oversees production of the travel guide, said she is thrilled with the cover selection.

“This beautiful image of Triple Cascades will certainly lure potential visitors to pick up this guide while they no doubt wonder, ‘Where is this incredible place?!’" she said. "It will certainly inspire visits to Schuyler County. The timing could not be better for Watkins Glen State Park to make the cover, given that it was voted one of the top three state parks in the country earlier this year by USA Today. Recognition of our hometown park has never been greater and I’m especially excited to see how the rest of the travel guide comes together behind this beautiful photograph.”

The Official 2016 Watkins Glen and Schuyler County Travel Guide will be available on March 31, 2016.

Old traditions, new ideas at Finger Lakes Cheese Trail and Sunset View Creamery

Special to The Odessa File

The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail winds its way through the forested hillsides and sloping vineyards of the Finger Lakes. The Trail started in 2010 as a way to bring tourists and visitors to the farms that were producing cheese in the region. Trail organizers patterned things after the wine trails, though the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail covers a much larger geographic region.

There are two types of farms on the Trail -- “destination” and “non-destination” -- as some farms aren't equipped to have visitors. Currently, there are 11 farms on the Trail, with 6 being destination farms (Engelbert Farms in Nichols, Muranda Cheese Co. in Waterloo, Shtayburne Farm in Rock Stream, Side Hill Acres in Candor, Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery in King Ferry and Sunset View Creamery in Odessa). The non-destination farms participate in the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival, which was held at Sunset View Creamery in July.

Sunset View Creamery, one of the formative members of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail, started in April of 2004. The creamery was created as a way to try and save a family farm. Milk prices were extremely low at the time and cash reserves had been used up for expenses. As owner/operator Carmella Hoffman says, “We thought that the value-added commodity of cheese-making just might be what could help save the farm.” And it did. As Carm says, “We opened to the public on May 1, 2004 and have been going ever since.”

Beyond the immediate desire to save the family farm, the idea to open a creamery was a dream child of Carm’s. She loves to cook and develop things and for her, starting a creamery seemed to combine the best of both worlds. So, after going to Morrisville State College for an intensive four-day training, Carm admits, “I was hooked. I came home and did a ton of research online and talked to people to see what the best way to proceed was. Of course, being a new venture, finding funding was interesting, but we finally did and construction began on December 1, 2003. We watched as Silverline Construction built the base, poured concrete in the coldest winter we had experienced, and by April 1, 2003, they were done and we were ready to move in and get started.”

But Sunset View Creamery is more than just cheese. They truly offer a great visitor experience. Carm’s passion for farm, family, and her knack for telling stories is evident in the smiles of her visitors. She says, “The best part of running the creamery is meeting the people who stop by and giving them a little insight into farming “our way.” We love the teaching aspect of the job -- both about cheeses and about the farming operation.”

As Sunset View Creamery begins to grow and change, so do their events and ideas. New on the docket this year are their “Toasted Cheese Sandwich Saturdays.” They will begin with a trial run on Saturday, June 6 (which also happens to be the first Open House of the season on the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail). Toasted cheese sandwiches will be made to order with a variety of different breads, cheeses and toppings. Gluten-free options will be available, too! For $5.00, you will receive a sandwich with your choice of cheese and breads, a bag of chips, and iced tea, lemonade or coffee.

Carm doesn’t do anything solely for herself or her business. Fittingly, her Toasted Cheese Sandwich Saturdays will be a fund-raiser for the Food Bank, and will feature breads made by the Village Bakery in Montour Falls. Of the $5.00 cost of the sandwich, $2.00 will go directly to the Food Bank. Toasted Cheese Sandwich Saturdays will take place on June 6, June 13, July 11, August 8 and September 5.

Simon Simek once said, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” While one can be certain that Carm’s job has plenty of stress, one can also be certain that she is driven by her passion for the region, her belief in the importance of the farming heritage, and her willingness to showcase these things to visitors from near and far.

Glenora hires Assistant Winemaker

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Jan. 23, 2016 -- Glenora Wine Cellars has announced the hiring of Sean Gilchrist as Assistant Winemaker.

Gilchrist is a graduate of Villanova University and currently working toward his Winemaking Certificate through the University of California, Davis. He most recently served as Harvest Assistant Winemaker at Hyde de Villaine in Napa, California and as an Intern with ROAR/August West wines in San Francisco, where he produced a small batch of Pinot Noir under a personal label.

“Sean’s youth and enthusiasm are invaluable as Glenora strategizes for the future,” said Gene Pierce, owner of Glenora Wine Cellars. “We look forward to utilizing Sean’s previous experiences and approach toward winemaking to grow our red program.”

Prior to his work in California, Gilchrist traveled throughout the world working in hospitality and interning at wineries, including By Farr Winery in Geelong, Australia, Terroirs in London, and Domaine Dujac in Morey St. Denis, France.

Regarding his new position, Gilchrist said the following: “As the region continues to evolve, so does Glenora, and I’m excited to join a team that continues to innovate and push boundaries in the industry. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from Steve DiFrancesco as well, whose wealth of experiences with various climate conditions and production techniques over 25 years in Finger Lakes is endless.”

Glenora Wine Cellars, a pioneer in the Finger Lakes wine industry, has been producing award-winning wines for over 36 years. Owners Gene Pierce and Scott Welliver also own Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant on Cayuga Lake. Knapp is a boutique winery with 60 acres of some of the oldest vineyards in the Finger Lakes Region, producing grapes for a variety of Knapp wines since 1982. In 2013 Pierce and Welliver purchased Chateau LaFayette Reneau on the east side of Seneca Lake. The 120-acre property contains 51 acres of meticulously maintained vinifera plantings. Pierce and Welliver maintain the three wineries as separate entities, each having its own distinct and unique identity.

Glenora starts 9th annual Pasta Nights

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Jan. 11, 2016 -- Glenora Wine Cellars has started its Ninth Annual Celebrity Guest Chef Pasta Nights at Veraisons Restaurant. The Thursday night series began on January 8, and continues until April 30.

Every Thursday, local celebrities will don aprons to prepare and serve guests fresh dishes of pasta from the pasta buffet station. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the charity of the Chef’s choice each evening. At the conclusion of the series, Glenora Wine Cellars matches the donation to the charity that brings in the most patrons.

Glenora Wine Cellars has donated close to $12,000 to local charities through the program.

On the horizon: 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the series, which will bring a season-long celebration, with details to come throughout 2015.

Guests receive a fresh garden salad, a bread basket at their table and unlimited trips to the pasta station. The Celebrity Chefs, with help from Veraisons staff, create fresh custom-made dishes of pasta from a selection of homemade sauces and ingredients, including an array of meats, fresh vegetables, garlic and herbs.

Pasta Night at Veraisons is offered Thursday evenings from 5:00-8:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended by calling 1-800-243-5513. The cost is $17.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Luckenbach promoted at Hazlitt's Cider Tree

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Jan. 11, 2016 -- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has announced the promotion of Jon Luckenbach as Sales Representative for Hazlitt's Cider Tree product.

Luckenbach's focus as Sales Representative will be in the New York State market and will encompass handling distributor relations, sales, tastings and events.

"Luckenbach's experience as Hazlitt's Red Cat Cellars Assistant Tasting Room Manager afforded him excellent product knowledge and made him an excellent fit for the new position," said General Manager Dan DeBell.

Luckenbach joined the team at Hazlitt's Red Cat Cellars in July 2012 as a part-time Tasting Room Sales Associate and became full time by the end of the year. In August 2013, he was promoted to Assistant Tasting Room Manager. While in his Tasting Room Manager position, DeBell said, Luckenbach managed the tasting room staff, inventory, and tasting room sales, and demonstrated his enthusiasm for learning Hazlitt products.

His commitment, skill set, and drive to sell, DeBell said, were recognized as an asset in the development of the Cider Tree sales team. "I am excited to have the opportunity to help drive the Cider Tree salesforce in New York State," said Luckenbach. "The cider market is booming and we have a hot product to introduce."

The growth of the Cider Tree brand has been brisk since its introduction in spring 2014. The expansion of the sales team will support the continued growth of the brand in new markets such as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts in 2015.

About Cider Tree:
Cider Tree is a 6.6% ABV hard cider made with 100% New York State apples. All the packaging materials are produced in New York State. The product, gluten free, is produced with fresh pressed apples and champagne yeast. Cider Tree is a product of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards and produced at Hazlitt's Red Cat Cellars. For more information visit:

Lt. Gov. tours Finger Lakes, names Governor's Cup winners

Chateau Lafayette Reneau captures top award

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Aug. 13, 2015 -- A tour of Finger Lakes wineries and distilleries led Wednesday by Lieutenant Goernor Robert J. Duffy highlighted Governor Andrew Cuomo's annual Governor’s Cup program, culminating in the presentation of the 2014 Governor's Cup to Hector's Chateau Lafayette Reneau during a dinner at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen.

The Finger Lakes Wine and Craft Beverage Tour, organized to promote New York State’s beverage industry and boost tourism to the State’s growing number of wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries in Upstate New York, included stops at Finger Lakes Distilling, Damiani Wine Cellars and Chateau Lafayette Reneau, and provided State and local leaders, wine industry professionals, restaurateurs and tourism officials a first-hand look at how New York spirits and wines are produced.

“New York is home to some of the world’s finest wines, beers, spirits and ciders, an industry that supports thousands of jobs in all corners of this state and is an important partner to our agricultural and tourism sectors,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement released to media. “I’m proud of this state’s efforts to promote and support New York’s beverage industry, which has only grown stronger, creating new jobs and stimulating the economy. Also, I congratulate today’s Governor’s Cup winner and the other awardees for their victories in this increasingly competitive contest.”

“The wine and craft beverages produced in New York State are some of the best in the world, and this industry has seen unparalleled growth over the past several years with Governor Cuomo’s support,” Lieutenant Governor Duffy said. “Beverage producers are creating jobs, stimulating the economy and expanding tourism as New York’s wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries continue to become world-renowned destinations. I applaud all of today’s winners, who have created outstanding wines and craft beverages, all of which the Finger Lakes should be incredibly proud of.”

At the Governor’s Cup Competition awards ceremony, which followed the Tour, Duffy presented the 2014 Governor’s Cup to Chateau Lafayette Reneau for its 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling.

The Cup is a large silver chalice, recognizing the “Best of Show” or top prize from 863 entries in the annual New York Wine & Food Classic wine competition, organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. In addition, Macari Vineyards & Winery from Long Island won the “Winery of the Year” award.

Jim Trezise, President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said, “The New York Wine & Food Classic is known as 'The Oscars' of New York wine, and the Governor's Cup Wine Tour just enhances the prestige. Governor Cuomo has transformed the business climate for our industry, and this is just one example. We join him and Lieutenant Governor Duffy in congratulating the winners.”

This year's competition included 835 wines, 20 hard ciders and eight spirits from across the State. The awards were based on blind tastings by 22 expert judges -- four from California, 10 from New York, seven from other states and one from France. Judges included prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers and wine educators. Judging panels determined the initial awards, with top-scoring wines evaluated by all 22 judges for the Best of Category and Governor's Cup awards.

New York is now home to more than 600 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries. The State ranks third in the nation in wine and grape production, second in apple production, has the second most distilleries and is home to three of the 20 top-producing breweries in the United States.

New York’s beer, wine, spirits and cider industry continues to have a tremendous impact on the State’s economy. Between manufacturing, agriculture, distribution and retail, in 2012 the industry had a combined economic impact of more than $27 billion and employs more than 85,000 people. (National Beer Wholesalers Association; New York Wine & Grape Foundation) According to a recent study commissioned by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the full economic impact of New York grapes, grape juice and wine in 2012 was $4.8 billion for New York State.

Since 2011, the number of farm wineries has risen by nearly 50%, from 195 to 291 today. In addition, the number of farm wineries opening branch offices, authorized by legislation signed by Cuomo in 2011, has increased by 97%, from 29 to 57, and the number of wineries has also increased, from 52 in 2011 to 76 today, for a total 46% growth.

The Governor also announced the following winners from the 2014 New York Wine & Food Classic competition:

--Specialty Wine Champion (wines made from fruits other than grapes or honey)
King Ferry Winery 2013 Apple Mystique

--Best Limited Production Wine (wines produced with fewer than 100 cases)
Sheldrake Point Winery 2013 Late Harvest Riesling

--Best Spirit
Hidden Marsh Distillery Judd’s Wreckin Ball Corn Whiskey

--Best Cider
Kaneb Orchards 2014 St. Lawrence Cider

The "Best of Category" awards, all eligible for the Governor's Cup, went to:

--Best Sparkling Wine
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2005 Brut Seduction, Methode Champenoise

--Best White Wine
Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling, Estate Bottled

--Best Rose Wine
Anthony Road Wine Company 2013 Rosé of Cabernet Franc

--Best Red Wine
Macari Vineyards & Winery 2010 Cabernet Franc

--Best Dessert Wine
Idol Ridge Winery 2014 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

The "Best of Class" awards, which are given to Double Gold or Gold medal wines in classes of at least seven wines, went to:

--Best Oaked Chardonnay
Coffee Pot Cellars 2013 Chardonnay

--Best Unoaked Chardonnay
Martha Clara Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay

--Best Overall Chardonnay
Martha Clara Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay

--Best Gewürztraminer
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2013 Gewürztraminer, Estate Bottled

--Best Dry Riesling
Wagner Vineyards 2012 Riesling Dry, Caywood East Vineyards Estate Grown

--Best Medium Dry Riesling
Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling, Estate Bottled

--Best Medium Sweet Riesling
Barnstormer Winery 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling

--Best Sweet Riesling
Wagner Vineyards 2012 Riesling Select, Estate Grown & Bottled

--Best Overall Riesling
Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling, Estate Bottled

--Best Sauvignon Blanc
Hosmer Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

--Best Pinot Grigio
Swedish Hill Winery 2013 Pinot Grigio

--Best Grüner Veltliner
Three Brothers Wineries & Estates 2013 Grüner Veltliner, Estate Reserve

--Best Vinifera White
Seneca Hayes Wine Cellars 2012 Riesling-Gewürztraminer

--Best Other White Vinifera Varietal
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery 2013 Tocai Friulano, Proprietor’s Special Reserve

--Best Cayuga
Lucas Vineyards 2013 Cayuga White

--Best Traminette
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2013 Traminette

--Best Vidal
Swedish Hill Winery 2013 Vidal Blanc

--Best Vignoles
Anthony Road Wine Company 2013 Vignoles

--Best Cold Climate White Varietal
Tug Hill Vineyards 2013 LaCrescent, Estate Grown

--Best Hybrid White
Lucas Vineyards 2013 Harbor Moon

--Best Niagara
Lucas Vineyards Miss Behavin

--Best Vinifera Rose
Anthony Road Wine Company 2013 Rosé of Cabernet Franc

--Best Catawba
Woodbury Vineyards Foxy Blush Renard

--Best Native Blush
21 Brix Winery Thirsty Elephant

--Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Brotherhood, America’s Oldest Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

--Best Merlot
Osprey’s Dominion Vineyard 2010 Reserve Merlot

--Best Pinot Noir
Ventosa Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir

--Best Cabernet Franc
Macari Vineyards & Winery 2010 Cabernet Franc

--Best Lemberger
Inspire Moore Winery & Vineyard 2012 Change

--Best Syrah
Billsboro Winery 2012 Syrah

--Best Other Red Vinifera Varietal
Fulkerson Winery 2013 William Vigne Dry Zwiegelt

--Best Vinifera Red
Harbes Vineyard 2012 Red Blend

--Best Vinifera/Hybrid Red
Buttonwood Grove Winery Redbud

--Best Other Red French-American Varietal
Johnson Estate Winery 2012 Chambourcin, Estate Grown

--Best Cold Climate Red Varietal
Thousand Islands Winery 2012 Frontenac

--Best Hybrid Red
Lakewood Vineyards 2013 Long Stem Red

--Best Concord
21 Brix Winery Ella’s Red

--Best Fruit
King Ferry Winery 2013 Apple Mystique

--Best Cider
Kaneb Orchards 2014 St. Lawrence Cider

--Best Spirit
Hidden Marsh Distillery Judd's Wreckin Ball Corn Whiskey

--Best Ice Wine
Idol Ridge Winery 2014 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

--Best Vinifera Sparkling White
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2005 Brut Seduction, Methode Champenoise

Photo in text: Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy (File photo)

Racing Research Center honored
by Society of Automotive Historians

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Nov. 7, 2013 -- The Society of Automotive Historians has presented the International Motor Racing Research Center with its James J. Bradley Distinguished Service Award.

The award honors the work of libraries and archives whose mission is to preserve motor vehicle resource materials.

"We are so pleased to be honored with the SAH Bradley Award," Center President J.C. Argetsinger said. "This award, from our peers of archivists and historians, is a gratifying affirmation of the work we're doing at the Center."

The award was presented at the SAH annual meeting and awards banquet Oct. 11 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Michael Argetsinger, a member of the Center’s Governing Council, accepted the award.

The award was established in memory of James J. Bradley, noted curator of the National Automotive History Collection at the Detroit Public Library. The award was first presented in 1982.

The Society of Automotive Historians was founded in 1969 to encourage research, preservation, recording, compilation and publication of the historical facts concerning the development of the automobile and related items, from inception to the present throughout the world. It has a worldwide membership of 1,000 and has active chapters in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

To learn more about the SAH, visit its website at

The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.

For more information about the Center’s work and its programs, visit or call (607) 535-9044. The Center also is on Facebook at International Motor Racing Research Center.

Photo in text: Automobile industry insider and author/historian Karl Ludvigsen speaks at the International Motor Racing Research Center on April 13, 2013. Free monthly talks are offered by the Center as part of its mission to preserve the history of motorsports. (Photo provided by the IMRRC)

Pierce, Welliver purchase Hector winery

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, Oct. 16, 2013 -- Gene Pierce and Scott Welliver, owners of Glenora Wine Cellars (Dundee) and Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant (Romulus), have recently completed the purchase of Chateau LaFayette Reneau in Hector from Richard and Betty Reno.

“When Scott and I learned that Dick and Betty were considering the sale of Chateau LaFayette Reneau," said Pierce, "we saw it as a great opportunity for us, having watched the growth of the winery over the past 28 years. Its prime location on the southeastern shore of Seneca Lake, and the excellent reputation of its wines, vineyards and staff all added to the decision to purchase the winery. Knowing the Renos and their dedication to the winery and commitment to the industry were major factors as well.”

Pierce and Welliver say they plan to maintain the three wineries as separate entities, continuing with each having its own distinct and unique identities. Visitors at Chateau LaFayette Reneau can expect the same great wines and the same standard of excellence in customer service, said Pierce.

Pierce and Welliver plan to expand the Chateau LaFayette Reneau vineyard acreage, as well as the distribution of its wines. “The increased awareness of the Finger Lakes Region and its wines provide an ideal environment for the growth of Chateau LaFayette Reneau,” said Pierce.

Chateau LaFayette Reneau was established in 1985. During the past 28 years its wines have received national and international recognition for superior quality in such events as The Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition, Riesling DuMonde, and the Governor’s Cup.

Photo in text: From left: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Scott Welliver and Gene Pierce during the governor's visit to Glenora on Aug. 13.

Glenora is utilizing an egg-shaped tank

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Oct. 2, 2013 -- Glenora Wine Cellars recently purchased a concrete egg-shaped tank from Burgundy, France to use in its wine production. It will be used instead of the standard stainless steel tank or oak barrel.

The egg shape was designed by Michel Chapoutier from the Rhone Valley of France. The egg shape, similar to the clay amphora wine jugs from the Roman Empire, eliminates dead corners and ensures a continuous flow of the fermenting wine.

Glenora is the first winery in the Finger Lakes to use the concrete egg.

Gene Pierce, co-owner of Glenora Wine Cellars, became intrigued by the concrete eggs when he first saw them on a trip to the Rhone Valley last spring.

“I am very excited to have the unique opportunity to work with the concrete egg,” said Steve DiFrancesco, Glenora winemaker. “We are christening the egg with Pinot Blanc, which is grown by Scott Welliver, co-owner of Glenora Wine Cellars. Our plan is to leave the wine in contact with the yeast lees until February.”

A benefit to using the egg, says Glenora in a press release, "is that there is a tiny amount of oxygen exchange, which will allow extended yeast contact without the danger of reduced, naturally occurring sulfur aromas. The size and insulating properties of the concrete design will eliminate the need for artificial temperature control during fermentation. The egg will allow similar richness and body in the wine as barrel fermentation without adding oak flavors or tannins."

The egg holds 184 gallons, or about 77 cases.

This limited release Pinot Blanc will be available for tasting and sales in early summer of 2014.

Glenora Wine Cellars has been producing award-winning, high-quality wines for over 35 years. In 1977 it was the first winery to open on Seneca Lake. Today a 30-room inn (Inn at Glenora) and a gourmet restaurant (Veraisons) join the winery on a 40-acre estate.

Photo in text: Glenora Wine Cellars co-owner Gene Pierce, left, and winemaker Steve DiFrancesco with the new tank. (Photo provided)

Hazlitt, Atwater vineyards honored

Roadside signs cite conservation commitment

HECTOR, July 26, 2013 -- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, owned by Doug Hazlitt and Leigh Hazlitt Triner, and Atwater Estate Vineyards, owned by Ted Marks, were each presented with an Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) "Farmers Partnering to Protect Our Environment" roadside sign Thursday recognizing their exemplary conservation of natural resources and commitment to environmental protection.

The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District presented the sign awards during the Schuyler County Farm Bureau summer picnic attended by over 200 people and held at Atwater Vineyards.

Elaine Dalrymple, Conservation District Field Manager, thanked the farmers for their stewardship efforts that exemplify the value of family farms to the environment, the local economy and the community. She said that for farmers, the rural landscape “is not just a place, it’s who we are.”

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, located in the Town of Hector, has been an active farm in Schuyler County for over 160 years, with 140 acres of vineyards presently in production along both Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes.

Dalrymple said that Hazlitt 1852 is known for its efforts to prevent erosion and enhance soil organic matter through the use of permanent sod, cover crops, mulch, and compost in vineyard row middles and through the protection of headlands.

"The AEM program helped us install many of the best management practices that we use and we will continue to participate since the program promotes the environmental protection goals that keep our farm viable,” said Doug Hazlitt. In accepting their award, both Leigh and Doug said that John Santos, their vineyard manager, has spearheaded the environmental protection efforts in their vineyards and deserves most of the credit. Hazlitt and Triner also operate one of the largest wineries in New York State.

Atwater Estate Vineyards is also located in the Town of Hector and has been in the family since 1999. It has 50 acres in grape production growing 16 different varieties. It also uses permanent sod and mulch in its row middles to prevent erosion and keeps headland areas vegetated.

In accepting the award for Atwater, Marks thanked the Farm Bureau and other farmers for their support. “I did not know anything about farming when I started 14 years ago, and without the help of my neighbors, I would not have made it,” he said, adding: “Seneca Lake is our lifeblood. Most vineyard operators know this and do all they can to protect the lake. Farms are the major land use in our county and protecting water quality ensures that they remain a vital part of life here.”

Katie Marks, Ted’s daughter, operates the successful winery on the farm and Chaz Coney is the vineyard manager. Also recognized were Bob Tamborelli and Mike Betts, who help manage the vineyards.

The Schuyler County Farm Bureau and the Schuyler County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board are co-sponsors of the awards with the Conservation District. AEM is a statewide program with over 10,000 farms voluntarily participating. To learn more about the AEM program in Schuyler County, visit or call the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District at 535-0878.

Photo in text: Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards and Atwater Estate Vineyards owners and managers with their AEM sign awards. From left: Bob Tamborelli, vineyard crew, Atwater Vineyards; Mike Betts, vineyard crew, Atwater; Doug Hazlitt and Leigh Hazlitt Triner, owners of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards; John Santos, vineyard manager, Hazlitt 1852; Ted Marks, owner of Atwater Estate Vineyards; Chaz Coney, vineyard manager, Atwater; and Katie Marks, winery manager, Atwater. (Photo provided)

Notarfonzo promoted in State Park Region

Special to The Odessa File

BURDETT, June 13, 2013 -- Kathie Notarfonzo of Burdett was recently promoted to Assistant Regional Director of the Finger Lakes State Park Region.

The Finger Lakes Region oversees 21 active facilities (12 with swimming, 11 with camping, and 12 with marina/boat launches), six gorges, and many miles of trails.

Notarfonzo -- a 1985 graduate of Watkins Glen High School -- started her career in 1986 as a secretary at Finger Lakes Regional Headquarters in Trumansburg and has moved through various positions throughout her career, including Health and Safety Officer and facility manager of the Ithaca area parks. She is a graduate of RIT with an OSHA certification.

Notarfonzo also manages Exercise Enterprise, a Watkins Glen health and fitness center. She is married with three sons.

Photo in text: Kathie Notarfonzo (Photo provided)

Debra Whiting Foundation dinner set

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, May 28, 2013 -- Red Newt Cellars Winery & Bistro is slated to host a dinner at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1 to support the Debra Whiting Foundation and to celebrate Debra's vision and commitment to the wine, food, farms, families and community of the Finger Lakes.

Debra Whiting (pictured at right) was, Red Newt points out, "a visionary chef in the Finger Lakes wine growing region. Her passion was not just the food as it appeared on the plate, but the food as it grew on local farms." During the 12 years that she led the culinary team at Red Newt Bistro, she was a leader in the development of farm to table relationships that blossomed with the burgeoning wine industry of the Finger Lakes.

“This year we are continuing to focus our efforts on defining the cuisine of our region,” said Brud Holland, Red Newt Bistro Executive Chef. “We do this by collaborating with our Finger Lakes farmers, other winemakers, and chefs that share our same passion.”

On June 1st, Holland is joining forces with Veraisons Restaurant at Glenora Wine Cellars Executive Chef Orlando Rodriquez to not only prepare the wine and food for the dinner, but also to pay tribute to Whiting, who died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on the New York Thruway on June 30, 2011.

“Working private events and other dinners with Debra in the past was great; anytime we were cooking together we always had a fun time,” says Rodriguez. “To be one of the first guest chefs to put on this fundraising dinner in her name is such an honor.”

In the same of spirit of collaboration, Holland echoes “for me, it is exciting to work with other chefs like Orlando; sharing ideas, techniques, and experiences – it's what keeps us inspired.”

The evening will feature an announcement of the first agriculture grant to a local Finger Lakes farm, introduction of 2013 culinary scholarship applicants, and a silent auction. The cost to attend is a $100 donation to the Foundation.

Tickets may be purchased at

Photo in text: Debra Whiting

Atwater plans Tasting Room in Watkins

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, April 11, 2013 -- Atwater Estate Vineyards, a 13-year-old winery located in Burdett, plans to open a tasting room on Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen.

“Watkins is quickly becoming an exciting tourist location and has great plans for its future that warrant new and innovative stores,” said Ted Marks, owner of Atwater

The Tasting Room by Atwater, as the new business will be called, will be at 204 North Franklin Street, across from the new Nickels Bar B Que and next door to the Glen Mountain Market and Bakery.

“Being within one block of the Harbor Hotel and the waterfront, the location is going to offer the tourists and residents an opportunity to taste local wines in the late afternoon and evenings,” said Marks.

The Tasting Room by Atwater will be open from 12 noon until 8 p.m. most evenings, especially during the tourist season.

“Our intention is not to run a ‘bar’ but to provide residents and visitors tastings of local wines offered by the smaller boutique style wineries located within the Finger Lakes Region," said Marks. "We will also be featuring and tasting Apple Ciders made in the area, especially those from Bellwether Cidery located on Cayuga Lake.”

Marks said that in addition, The Tasting Room by Atwater will carry artisan cheeses made by local creameries.

“It is important that local wineries, cideries, cheese makers, and distilleries all work together to promote our local farms and their products," he said. "The new and exciting attitude by Governor Cuomo toward farm products grown within New York State has made all this possible for us to market these items together.”

The Atwater winery is located at 5055 Route 414, Burdett . It currently employs 10 workers on an 80-acre farm and produces 16 different wines from its vineyards. The winery was recently awarded several gold medals for Rieslings, and consistently receives high ratings for red wines .

Assuming all licenses are approved by New York State and local agencies, The Tasting Room by Atwater hopes to open before Memorial Day weekend. Three full-time and four part-time positions will be created for the new venture.

Photo in text: The storefront of the planned tasting room. (Photo provided)

Grant will help fund digitization of
Racing Center's Grand Prix materials

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 31, 2012 -- The International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen has received a grant to fund the digitization of United States Grand Prix materials.

The $7,000 grant from the South Central Regional Library Council in Ithaca will support the Center’s commitment to making materials in its collections more easily available to the public.

Center President J.C. Argetsinger said the materials of which digital copies will be made include 20 years of race programs, some 200 photographs and some 200 pages of race results. Some of the materials are not now available to the public from any other source.

The United States Grand Prix had a home at Watkins Glen for 20 years, from 1961 through 1980. The first Formula One Grand Prix race was run at the Glen on Oct. 8, 1961.

“This matching grant will give the Center’s digitization effort a big boost,” Argetsinger said. “The staff is especially excited that results of our efforts to preserve the history of motorsports will be easily available from another source. We appreciate that this grant will help to widen our audience.”

Once digitized, the Grand Prix materials will be accessible through the Center’s website at and through New York Heritage at, a research portal for students, educators, historians, genealogists, and anyone else interested in learning more about the people, places and institutions of New York.

The Racing Research Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization founded in 1999 and located in Watkins Glen, also home of the Watkins Glen International race track. It is recognized as a world-class leader in the collection of materials representing the documentary heritage of amateur and professional motor racing worldwide.

The New York Heritage website provides free access to more than 160 distinct digital collections, totaling hundreds of thousands of items. The collections in New York Heritage represent a broad range of historical, scholarly, and cultural materials held in libraries, museums, and archives throughout the state. Collection items include photographs, letters, diaries, directories, maps, newspapers, books and more.

The Regional Bibliographic Data Bases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing Grant will be administered by the South Central Regional Library Council.

The Library Council is one of nine Reference and Research Library Resources Councils in New York. As a multi-type library consortium, the Council serves 69 members across 10,000 square miles in the counties of Allegany, Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates.

Glenora Wine Cellars wins Gold

Special to The Odessa File

DUNDEE, Oct. 9, 2012 -- Glenora Wine Cellars recently won Gold medals from The Beverage Testing Institute -- during the 2012 World Value Wine Challenge -- for its 2011 Riesling, 2011 Seyval Blanc, 2011 Gewürztraminer, and 2011 Pinot Noir Rosé. In addition, its 2011 Pinot Noir Rosé won “2012 Best Rosé Wine under $15.”

“We are very pleased and honored to be recognized by the BTI for our recent entries in the World Value Wine Challenge,” said Steve DiFrancesco, wine maker at Glenora Wine Cellars. “Our winemaking style respects the vineyards, with flavors that are expressive of carefully ripened grapes. These wines are a tribute to our grape growers, vineyard managers, and Mother Nature herself.”

The Beverage Testing Institute uses double blind tastings to judge the wines. The panels consist of screened and trained professionals who all have an extensive wine-related background.

Glenora Wine Cellars has been producing award-winning wines for over 33 years. In 1977 it was the first winery to open on Seneca Lake. Today the property offers a 30-room inn (Inn at Glenora) and a gourmet restaurant (Veraisons) adjoining the winery on a 40-acre estate.

Sahlen's renews sponsorship with WGI

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, July 3, 2012 -- Sahlen’s Packing Company, Inc. has announced a multi-year renewal of its partnership with Watkins Glen International as title sponsor of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen Grand-Am Road Racing Series event.

Currently the longest consecutive title sponsorship at The Glen, this season marks the 10th year of this partnership. The latest annual race was run last weekend.

“Joe Sahlen and Sahlen Packing Company are strong supporters of The Glen and sports car racing,” said Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup. “As a native of Western New York, it is great to have a regional brand prominently represented at The Glen. We look forward to continuing to work with Joe and his team to keep the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen one of the premier events of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule.”

Sahlen's Packing Company, a leading producer of meat products in Western New York, is known for its hot dogs, sausages, and deli meats. It was founded in 1869 in Buffalo.

Work starting at future Visitor Center

Special to The Odessa File

WATKINS GLEN, June 28, 2012 -- Renovation work has begun at the site of the future Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.

The former home of the Seneca Lake General Store at 214 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen is now empty, with the first phase of the Center renovation process just beginning.

The Chamber hired Hunt Engineers of Horseheads to design the layout of the new Chamber home right after plans for the Center were announced in December. General contractor. for the job is Kermit Cutter Construction, which is headquartered in Newfield.

“It’s been a long time in the making," said Rebekah LaMoreaux, Chamber president & CEO, "but our staff, board of directors, members and community are all very excited.”

The need for a bigger and more modern facility has grown over the years. Last year, 17,813 tourists paid a visit to the current 1,700-square-foot Visitor Center – and with growing numbers, a small greeting center without a public restroom was deemed no longer sufficient.

The new location is 5,100 square feet. It will include two public restrooms, a conference room, and five offices for Chamber staff. It will also feature special displays that are representative of the region, and which will be revealed at a ribbon cutting ceremony, expected in September..

According to the 2011 Oxford Economics Company’s report, The Economic Impact of Tourism in New York, travelers have the following impact in Schuyler County:

* Travelers Spend - $30,884,000 (an increase of 13% over 2010)
* Labor Income - $11,931,000
* Local Tax Revenue - $1,716,000
* State Tax Revenue - $1,882,000

“The Oxford report confirms that Schuyler County continues to be a world-class destination, and we must strive to continue the expansion of our efforts to further improve this reputation,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn. “As we embark on new initiatives such as lakefront development and the construction of a new Visitor Center, our standing will only increase. While we have made great gains, we are in the infancy stage of what our tourism economy will ultimately be.”

Added Vicki Schamel, Chairwoman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors: "Being in the heart of the Finger Lakes, Watkins Glen is poised to be a very vibrant town for tourism and the economy."

Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of August.

Photos in text: The exterior and interior of the future Visitor Center. (Photos provided)

Hazlitt 1852 appoints DeBell as GM

Special to The Odessa File

HECTOR, June 21, 2012 -- Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has hired Daniel DeBell as General Manager.

DeBell comes to Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards with 20 years of management experience. Through his career he spent time in key roles in business development, marketing, project management and production efficiency.

"We are thrilled to have Dan join our senior management team and bolster our management expertise," said Leigh Triner, Co-CEO of Hazlitt. "Our company's rapid growth and acquisition of Hazlitt's Red Cat Cellars in Naples, NY necessitated we increase our organizational leadership. Dan is a perfect fit for us."

"I am really excited about the growth potential of the business, the commitment of the people and the amazing products," said DeBell, adding: "I look forward to being a significant part of the future of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards and Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars."

A native of Ithaca, DeBell earned a degree in Applied Economics, Business Management and Marketing from Cornell University. He currently lives in Trumansburg with his wife Michelle, four dogs, three cats and 32 horses.

About Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards & Hazlitt's Red Cat Cellars:

The Hazlitt family has been growing grapes on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake for over 150 years. Established in 1984, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards continues the family tradition of award-winning viticulture and wine production. In 2010, Hazlitt's Red Cat Cellars was founded when the Hazlitt family purchased the 3 million gallon-plus Widmer Wine Cellars in Naples, New York from Constellation Brands.

The family's wines include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Cabernet Franc. Most notably, Hazlitt is famous for its Red Cat, White Cat and Cabin Fever -- some of the most popular and best-selling New York State wines available. For more information, visit:, or




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