Tonawanda News — What the Napa Valley is to California, the Niagara Wine Trail could soon be to New York.
With 18 wineries, including a cidery, the trail stretches from Niagara to Monroe County, with Orleans County and the Medina Railroad Museum near its center.
Shane Gustafson, who is the interim chair of marketing on the Niagara Wine Trail, said state legislation has passed to extend the trail out to Route 390 near Rochester. The expansion, which she said “just need’s a signature by the governor for approval,” will make the trail roughly 90 miles long, and likely will include a number of new and unique wineries.
“This is a good region for growing grapes,” Gustafson said. “The temperature profiles, the climate of the region, and the land value are all good.”
The nearest densely populated wine region is the Finger Lakes, but Gustafson said the Niagara Wine Trail is “younger” and is closer to both Buffalo and Rochester, and has the ability to draw visitors from across the Canadian border.
Gustafson said the Niagara Wine Trail has a distinct personality at each of its wineries.
“Some specialize in sweet wines, some in fruits, and one has a brewery, and there are a couple farms,” she said. “Every winery has a unique, individual personality, and there’s not any one kind of large company running anything … it’s all families.”
The Niagara Wine Trail is working collaboratively with the Medina Railroad Museum this fall, and will continue to work with it for more events in 2014, Gustafson said.
Brianna Byrne, a media representative for a number of museum rail excursions, said one publication has labeled the trail as “one of the most exciting places to be in the next 20 years.”
Medina, she said, will be centrally located among the expansion.
“This whole area seems like an untapped resource,” Byrne said. “The trail itself is expanding. It used to just be in Niagara, but now it’s in Orleans and there are plans to expand into Monroe.”