Lake Erie Wine Country will kick-off the 2017 season with their annual Wine & Cheese Weekend event on April 21, 22, and 23. Ticket holders will visit any or all of 22 participating wineries where they will enjoy a special wine paired with food samples created with exquisite Yancey’s Fancy cheeses. This year, the wine trail has added a new twist! Each winery has chosen a country around which they developed their food and wine pairing. Countries such as Austria, Mexico, Poland, Trinidad, and India will be represented. There is a diverse and delicious array of food offerings for this year’s “international” cheese and wine event. Streusel Kuchen, Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole, Grape Chutney, and Bavarian Cheddar Ale Soup are but some of the food samples that can be savored along with the perfect complementary wine.
“Pairing wine and cheese is a lot of fun, and it doesn’t need to be difficult,” says Bethany Margolis of Liberty Vineyards & Winery in Sheridan, New York. “Generally, you’ll want to put delicate cheeses with delicate wines and strong cheeses with bold wines. Sometimes you may like some contrast–like a creamy cheese with a crisp wine. There is nothing mystical about it, and there are no right or wrong choices–in the end it is about what you enjoy!”
Jeff Murphy, winemaker at Johnson Estate Winery, is partial to Yancey’s Fancy’s cheese curds. “They are always fresh and flavorful and easy to transport when hiking or out for a picnic. I also like to pair cheddar cheese with Vidal or a Semi dry Riesling. With chive, I’ll reach for a Seyval Blanc or Chardonnay. And with Yancey’s Fancy Buffalo Wing cheese? Beer! Preferably a refreshing pilsner.”
Many Lake Erie Wine Country wineries now serve beer, hard ciders, and distilled spirits. “Our wine trail is evolving,” says Julie Ellis, Executive Director of Lake Erie Wine Country. “We now offer a variety of agricultural beverages in addition to our award-winning wines. Many of our wineries also offer snacks, seating, wine-by-the glass and free entertainment. There is never a dull moment on the wine trail!”
Tickets are now on sale for the popular Wine & Cheese Weekend at only $38 per person. One ticket is good for all three days. They may be purchased online at www.lakeeriewinecountry.org before Tuesday, April 18 at 10:00 a.m. Tickets are usually sold-out before this deadline, so advanced purchase is necessary.
A ticket for your designated driver is available for only $20 and includes everything but wine. Friday and/or Sunday only tickets are only $28 each. This entitles ticket holders to enjoy all of the benefits of the event on Friday and/or Sunday only, but not on Saturday.
As in the past, ticket holders will receive a food and wine pairing sample at each winery, additional wine tastes, a wine glass, recipe booklet, $5 voucher for wine purchase, and this year, a gift of another $5 voucher
Ticket holders plan their own itinerary, enjoying each winery on a self-guided tour on Friday, April 21 from noon-6 p.m.; Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m; and Sunday, April 23 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wine & Cheese Weekend is sponsored by Yancey’s Fancy Cheeses. www.yanceysfancy.com
Wine & Cheese Weekend will kick-off a busy 2017 tourist season in the region. Throughout the summer, the 22 individual wineries will host their own special events that include free concerts in the vineyards, vineyard walks, festivals, winemaker’s dinners and other exciting event offerings. “There is a multitude of fun and interesting activities at our wineries all spring and summer,” says Julie Ellis. “Events give people a little more incentive to come out and try our delicious wines while enjoying our beautiful region. You’ll have a grape time!” Special events for all wineries are listed at lakeeriewinecountry.org. There are also listings for lodging, dining, transportation and other area attractions.
Lake Erie Wine Country, formerly known as The Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail, has been incorporated for more than a decade. They are a consortium of 22 wineries located on a 50-mile stretch between Harborcreek, PA and Silver Creek, NY along the southern shore of Lake Erie. The mission of this non-profit organization is to “support and to market the wine and grape industries in Chautauqua County, New York and Erie County, Pennsylvania through the promotion of excellence in wine products, in winery and associate member facilities, and in the tourism experience in the region.”