The Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail, an association of more than 20 wineries in western Pennsylvania and New York, has named Lisa Gensheimer executive director. The position is part-time.
Gensheimer, co-owner of Main Street Media, Inc., brings more than 30 years' experience in marketing, public relations, and tourism development to the organization. She will work with the wine trail's newly elected board of directors to brand the region as a travel destination.
"Lisa came to us with a host of new ideas, boundless enthusiasm, and a desire to bring our wineries together around a common purpose," said wine trail board president Bob Mazza, who owns three wineries in western Pennsylvania and New York. "As a long-time resident of our region, she has a deep appreciation for the wine trail's unique sense of place."
Gensheimer is the former main street revitalization manager in North East, Pa., where she directed tourism promotion and historic preservation and efforts that leveraged more than $1.5 million in downtown improvements. During her tenure, North East’s downtown district was named to the National Register of Historic Places. On behalf of the North East Chamber of Commerce, she led the campaign to bring Mercyhurst College to the vacant St. Mary’s Seminary, raising more than $500,000 in initial contributions to help renovate the historic property, which is now home to more than 1,000 students.
Gensheimer once managed employee communications and Internet projects for Erie Insurance Group, a Fortune 500 company based in Erie, Pa.; directed marketing efforts for both Hamot Medical Center and St. Vincent Health Center, also in in Erie; edited a weekly newspaper with five editions; and launched Erie's first city magazine while serving as public relations director for the Erie Area Chamber of Commerce.
Gensheimer continues to write for many regional and national publications. She is the author of Pennsylvania Wilds: Images from the Allegheny National Forest, an illustrated history and fine art photography book featuring the work of Ed Bernik. Her column, “The Culinary Tourist,” appears twice a month on the travel channel at gather.com. Main Street Media's documentaries have appeared on public television stations nationwide.
Bob Mazza was elected president of the wine trail's board of directors. He is the owner of Mazza Winery and the South Shore Wine Company in North East, Pa., and Mazza Chautauqua Cellars in Mayville, New York. Mazza, a leader in the Pennsylvania and New York grape and wine industry for more than 30 years, currently serves as president of the Pennsylvania Wine Association.
The wine trail named Doug Metzger, Willow Creek Winery, Silver Creek, NY, vice-president; Beth Margolis, Liberty Vineyards & Winery, Sheridan, NY, secretary; and Bill Merritt, Merritt Estate Winery, Forestville, NY, treasurer. Other board members include immediate past president Jennifer Johnson, Johnson Estate Winery, Westfield, NY; Peter Noble, Noble Winery, Westfield, NY; and Sam Best, Lakeview Wine Cellars, North East, Pa. Denise Connolly, of Westfield, serves as the wine trail's administrator.
The Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail includes 23 wineries along the southern shore of Lake Erie, the largest grape-growing region east of the Rockies.