By Sue Poster, Westfield-Barcelona Chamber of Commerce Coordinator
As a life-long resident of Mayville, NY, Christina Jo McKane grew up with grapes all around. The grape industry is a major enterprise and an integral part of life in the Westfield Barcelona area, as the manager of the Grape Discovery Center, 8305 Route 20, Westfield, Christina works to promote the industry. The Grape Discovery Center is a 501c3 not for profit and is the official Visitor’s Center for the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, designated a New York State Heritage Area in 2006. The GDC was developed by the Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association to be an experiential destination that supports and promotes the grape industry through sharing stories and engaging, educating and informing the public about all things grape.
As a single mother of three daughters: Victoria, Kennady and Sky, Christina stays very busy. In addition to her daughters she has a spoiled German Shepard, Luka and an adopted cat, Sushi. The family enjoys spending time together walking the shores of our beautiful Lake Erie and hiking, enjoying all that our area has to offer. Time spent with friends and family is precious to this busy Mom.
When asked what the chamber of commerce provides Christina had this to say “A member of the Chamber has given numerous benefits such the ability to acquire more business contacts which generates more business activity and visibility for the Grape Discovery Center. Collaboration with other Chamber businesses has built strong relationships while partnering during events and creating events together increases productivity.”
The work that is done at the GDC is as important to our area as the grapes themselves. You can see examples of the different soils that produce the grapes, the traditional way the grapes were harvested by hand before modern machinery and so much more. The history of Welch’s is on display in the interactive area. Many activities are held at the center each year, car shows, the blessing of the grapes, painting parties, reunions and the shopping!
Christina has stocked the show room with a wide variety of products made with and about grapes and Westfield. From jam, wine, juice, popcorn, oils, vinegars and salad dressings to postcards, art work, bottle toppers, jewelry and even pencils this is a great place to shop and bring visitors. Visitor’s enjoy wine tasting and new this year you can even buy wine.
Westfield is a great place, Christina enjoys “The uniqueness, history and all the new friends I have made!”
The Grape Discovery Center is open for winter hours - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 4.