Legislation pending in Albany could allow for the expansion of the Niagara Wine Trail, and help grow small business in the region.
Introduced by Senator George Maziarz, R-Newfane, the bill (S7159-2011) would redesignate the Niagara Escarpment Wine Trail and the Niagara Wine Trail as the Niagara Wine Trail Ridge and the Niagara Wine Trail Lake, respectively, by amending the boundaries of both trails.
A similar bill was approved by the state Senate last week and is under consideration by the Assembly Committee on Transportation.
The legislation would allow additional wineries to join the trail, which currently includes 16 wineries in Niagara and Orleans counties. Winery members of the Niagara Wine Trail posted a plea on its Facebook page asking supporters to contact legislators and urge the transportation committee to act before the session ends Friday to allow new wineries to join.
Supporters say the reconfiguration and extension eastward will draw new attention to the trail and will attract additional visitors from the Rochester area.
The bill calls for amending the boundaries and changing the name of the two state-designated trails. The Niagara Wine Trail Ridge to stretch from Route 104 in the City of Niagara Falls east to Route 390 in Monroe County; with the new boundaries for the Niagara Wine Trail Lake extending from Route 18/Lake Road from Route 104 east to Route 390.
The current configuration ends the Niagara Escarpment Wine Trail on the east side at Route 269 in the Town of Hartland and north to Route 18 in the Town of Somerset; while the northern trail currently known as the Niagara Wine Trail stretches from the I-290 in Amherst, down Niagara Falls Boulevard/Route 62 to Route 425 North into Wilson, then east along Route 18 to Route 269 in Somerset.
The change would allow at least one existing winery in Orleans County to join: Schwenk Wine Cellars in Kent, which makes nine varieties of wine; and another in Monroe County.