Article Contributed by
Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau
The Grape Discovery Center announces the second of its seasonal events supported by a craft beverage marketing grant through Empire State Development. An Evening of Cocktail Creations will take place December 5, 2015, from 5-9 pm. Popular mixologists from western New York will create wine, beer and spirit-based cocktails made with craft beverages from Lake Erie Wine Country and the western New York region, and compete for the title of Cocktail Creator Extraordinaire. Attendees will vote for their favorite individual cocktail while enjoying appetizers and small bites provided by Andriaccio’s Restaurant in Mayville with a focus on foods sourced locally as well as desserts created by Cakes by Brandi in Westfield. The $40 ticket includes cocktail tastings and voting rights and can be reserved by calling 716-326-2003.
Mixologists competing in the event include Nicholas Dean from Forte in Jamestown, Andrew Dunnewold from Peek’n Peak Resort, and Campbell Dawson from Ellicottville Brewing Company. A panel of judges who will choose the best bartender include Joe Town, certified sommelier, owner of WinewithJoe consulting and general manager for Andriaccio’s Restaurant; Julie Ellis, director of Lake Erie Wine Country; Jason Tosczydlowski from CHQ Local Food and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce; and Amy Webb from Webb’s Captain’s Table in Mayville.
A journalist and blogger at FrontierMixology, Nicholas Dean has been mixing drinks at Forte since 2007. Asked about his bartending experience, Dean explained, “for the hospitality component of my job I draw on my years of experience working as a journalist — because while I have a great love for and interest in cocktails, the job is really all about serving people.”
A charity auctioneer by day, Campbell Dawson has been tending bar for 22 years in establishments from Colorado to Chautauqua. He currently lives in Lakewood, mixing cocktails with flare and serving craft brews at Ellicottville Brewing Company in Ellicottville and the Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club. He also attributes interacting with people as what he enjoys most about the bartending.
A student of architecture and interior design, Andrew Dunnewold has been at Peek’n Peak for eight years. He enjoys concocting seasonal drinks and martinis and loves working with the staff at the resort.
In addition to the cocktail contest, local experts will be on hand to guide visitors through the history and exhibits at the Discovery Center and offer insights into the adjacent vineyard as winter temperatures set in.
An Evening of Cocktail Creations is the second in a series of special events at the Grape Discovery Center presenting Lake Erie regional wine and craft beverages in a seasonal context. Support for the event is provided by a grant through Empire State Development Corporation and Taste NY, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to promote the quality, diversity and economic impact of New York’s food and beverage industries. The Grape Discovery Center will host an additional event in March 2016 with the Diversity of Craft Beverages and a maple infused theme.
A not-for-profit arm of the Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association, the Grape Discovery Center showcases the history and heritage of the grape industry and serves as a welcome center for the Lake Erie grape region with a gift shop, tasting bar and exhibit area. Located at 8305 West Main Rd (NYS Route 20) in Westfield, it is open year round. For more information and to reserve tickets, visit www.grapediscoverycenter.com or call 716-326-2003.