New wine unveiled to benefit Tourism in McKean County
Kinzua Journey, a new wine developed by Flickerwood Wine Cellars & Lounge in Kane, is now for sale with part of the proceeds to be donated to the ANFVB to help support tourism in McKean County. Tourism is the second largest industry in Pennsylvania.
Flickerwood co-owner Sue Zampogna said the tribute to the new Sky Walk, located at Kinzua Bridge State Park, Mount Jewett, is as much a celebration of the rebirth of this amazing attraction as it is a resurgence of their business from tourists.
“When the Sky Walk opened last September, we were amazed at the business we had at the winery from folks who had gone to the Sky Walk,” she said. “After nine years of little to no business from tourists going to the Kinzua Bridge State Park, we had kind of forgotten how such an amazing attraction would mean to local businesses.”
The opening of the Sky Walk has increased overnight stays in the area by more than 20 percent, bringing business to McKean County businesses.
Flickerwood’s customer base grows each year through tourists.
“Tourists are our largest block of customers. When a ‘tourist’ stops at the winery because he enjoys wine, it is our job to turn that tourist into a ‘customer’ who will come back, order wine online, tell their friends about us.”
Many tourists find out about Flickerwood and other businesses in McKean County and the surrounding area through the efforts of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, led by Executive Director Linda Devlin.
“Being a member of the ANFVB since we opened in 2000 has been very beneficial to the growth of our business,” Zampogna said. “This organization works tirelessly promoting their members and our region. The benefits members receive far outweigh the minimal membership fee. This is one way for us to give a little back for all the help, guidance, and promotion they have given us over the years.”
Devlin said that the work the ANFVB does is out of love for the region.
“Our job is really a great one - to promote a region we love, to talk to visitors who want to come and see what great attractions we have,” Devlin said. “When you look at it, it’s not really a job, but a passion.”
Then, when Zampogna found out that the marketing funding was drastically reduced, she decided to help out there, too.
“Devlin discussed the situation with us and together we decided to craft a new wine to celebrate the Sky Walk and to donate proceeds from the sale of the wine to the ANFVB,” Zampogna said. “Linda, staff, and the board work tirelessly promoting our region and this is our attempt to help this organization stay in business.”
Devlin said that in McKean County alone, 758 jobs are directly supported by tourism, which generates $176 million nnually into our local economy.
“When Flickerwood decided to develop this new wine and donate some of the proceeds to the ANFVB, I was very excited,” Devlin said. “Tourism is so important to our area and it is partners like these that make our jobs
Devlin added there are many other exciting things happening in the region, including the expansion of the Penn Brad Oil Museum, the renovation of the store at the Zippo/Case Museum, the Lodge at Glendorn receiving its outfitting permit from the Allegheny National Forest, to name a few. There are also start-up businesses like B’s Canoeing Guide Service.
“The combination of all this, as well as the improvements at the Kinzua Bridge State Park, has increased the number of tourists that visit our region.”
“Our goal is to make this region the premier outdoor tourism destination for the East Coast of the United States,” Devlin said, adding that this is very much an attainable goal with 15 million people residing within a six-hour drive of the ANF Region.
A new outreach effort the ANFVB started this year is an e-newsletter that is sent to travelers interested in coming here. The newsletter features upcoming events and attractions. To receive the newsletter, go to the ANFVB website at visitANF.com.
The Kinzua Sky Walk has been just one of the attractions featured in the past few months of the newsletter.
Zampogna’s daughter, Julie Zampogna-Wehner, who came up with the label idea and design, felt the name of the wine, Kinzua Journey, should be reflected in the label, which depicts the many phases of life of the bridge.”
Winemaker Ron Zampogna, Sue Zampogna’s partner in life and in the business, came up with the blend for Kinzua Journey. It will be available to the public during FlickerFest.
“Because we wanted to release it at FlickerFest 2012, May 26, 27 and 28, the wine was started from the 2011 harvest. Mother Nature has been working its magic along with our winemakers ever since. It is just now ready in time for our anniversary weekend.”
The first vintage, is in limited supply.
“When a new wine is crafted, especially a blend, we begin with a limited amount to see how popular it will be. If Kinzua Journey is a success, as we are sure it will be, we will be making it again from the 2012 harvest and will continue to make it and donate proceeds from the sales to the ANFVB,” Zampogna said.
Zampogna described the wine as a blend of three different white grapes. This unique blend brings out a smooth tropical flavor with a hint of grapefruit. It is a semi-sweet wine with a crisp ending and a wonderful fruity bouquet.