First combination winery, craft distillery opens in WNY

WESTFIELD – Drive down Route 20 in Westfield, and you’ll notice there’s something distinctly new there. You won’t miss the prominent, windowed still room gracing the modern building which houses the area’s first and only winery and craft distillery, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars and Five & 20 Spirits, which officially opened its doors to the public on July 25.

The new location offers recognized New York wines alongside new and exciting distilled spirits, crafted on-site.

Robert Mazza, founder of Mazza Vineyards and a name long-known in the wine industry, along with his son, Mario Mazza, chose this site because of a unique opportunity to expand their original craft distillery, located in Mayville, into a larger, grain-to-glass operation featuring new distilled products.

The building is surrounded by 80 acres of farmland, which have already started to become home to many of the crops, such as rye, corn and barley, that will be used in the making of their craft-distilled, and later, brewed, beverage offerings. These new products will belong to the Mazzas’ newly introduced brand, Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing.

Visitors will be able to sample and purchase Mazza Chautauqua Cellars Wines, which have been in production since 2006 and come from over 40 years of winemaking experience, alongside distilled beverages such as eau de vie (fruit brandies), grappa, and new products such as corn whiskey and white rye whiskey (coming in August), rye whiskey (coming this fall), bourbon (coming Spring 2014), bierschnapps and limoncello. Guests can also purchase New York wines by the glass for enjoyment on the premises, which include an outdoor courtyard overlooking a picturesque pond, where on a good day you can catch a glimpse of Lake Erie between the trees.

Expect to see more “new things” in the coming years, including ongoing Five & 20 product releases, building expansion, and the addition of a brewery in early 2014.

According to Mario Mazza, general manager, “Each phase of the project will emphasize sustainable efforts and a grain-to-glass model of operation,” and he notes their commitment to working closely with farmers and to crafting quality products in small batches.

Distiller Joe Nelson comments on the advantages of working with small batches.

“Our size gives us the ability to chase unique flavors and experiment within the framework of what a whiskey ‘is.’ There’s a lot of traditional knowledge that goes into making spirits, but the small tweaks that we can do batch-to-batch are where we get the most unique character from.”

Distilling is currently done in their Christian Carl artisan copper pot still, originally imported from Germany.

Mazza Chautauqua Cellars in Mayville, located near the Chautauqua Institution will remain in operation as a tasting room, wine shop and cafe. Learn more about Mazza Chautauqua Cellars and Five & 20 Spirits at mcc.mazzawines.com and www.fiveand20.com.