|The wine trail coverage area.|
SACKETS HARBOR -- The Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail may be one of the least-known trails in New York, but it is growing in several ways.
In its six years of existence, the 78-mile long trail has become one of the top tourist attractions in Jefferson County. It has plans to add at least one more this year.
Presently, five wineries and a tasting room for Hunt Country Vineyards, a Finger Lakes winery, are on the Trail. The members are the Thousand Islands Winery, Coyote Moon, Otter Creek Winery, Tug Hill Vineyards and Yellow Barn Winery.
The River Myst Winery in Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, is expected to be added to the Trail this year.
The region's first such facility was Thousand Islands Winery, located just outide Alexandria Bay. Owner Steve Conaway said in an interview with YNN, "We were the first to get started in the area. The wine trail got going once we got started. We have about 17 different varieties and all of them have won awards in various competitions. The Thousand Islands Winery right now is producing about 60,000 gallons, so we are a pretty large producer. We're distributing to about 300 stores."
For a relatively small trail, its joint activities are big. That's because it works with numerous food producers and craft vendors to bring a wide spectrum of possibilities to visitors. For example, its "Holiday Wine, Food & Craft Fair" last November included all five member wineries, the Ashley Lynne Winery from the Lake Ontario area, eight food makers/vendors and 21 crafters.
Trail and/or individual winery schedules for 2012 call for special events around most holidays -- Valentine's Day, Halloween, Christmas, etc.
In addition, some of the wineries have branched out into other products -- Casa Papa pasta sauce and a barbecue sauce made with its Twisted Sister wine at Coyote Moon; soft drinks such as Black Sheep root beer and grape soda at Otter Creek; a bookstore featuring the works of local authors at Yellow Barn.
Another thing that has helped the Trail quickly catch on is the availability of a tour bus service -- Clarence Henry Coach -- that allows tourists to skip the driving. The company reports that its buses are running at full capacity on the Trail.
The mailing address for the Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail is P.O. Box 353, Sackets Harbor, NY 13685. Phone: (315) 222-6633.
Contact information for the member wineries:
Coyote Moon Vineyards
17371 East Line Road (County Route 3)
Clayton, NY 13624
Otter Creek Winery
33109 Rudes Road
Philadelphia, NY 13673
Thousand Islands Winery
43298 Seaway Avenue, Suite 1
Alexandria Bay, NY 13607
Tug Hill Vineyards
4051 Yancey Road
Lowville, NY 13367
Yellow Barn Winery
18876 County Route 66
Watertown, NY 13601