Book signing at Grape Discovery Center

WESTFIELD – On Saturday, the Grape Discovery Center will have two book signings by local authors. Dottie Rexford, author of Cora Pooler will be signing from 1-3 p.m. Jewel Leigh Ellis, author of Lake Erie Wine Country will be signing from 3-5 p.m.

Jewel Leigh Ellis has been the Executive Director of Lake Erie Wine Country since 2010. She was raised in North East, Pa., and graduated as a Grape Picker, the North East High School’s fitting mascot name. A graduate of Purdue University, Ellis also works as a voice-over artist, freelance writer, videographer/video producer, and on-air talent for a local oldies radio station.

The book was released on Aug. 18, and boasts 200 vintage images, many of which have never been published, and showcases memories of the largest and oldest Concord grape growing region in the world.

In 1818, Deacon Elijah Fay planted the first grape vines of the Lake Erie Wine Country, located in the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt. Fay’s relatives planted the premier Concord vineyards in Brocton where the mighty Concord vineyard thrived. Vineyards were planted along the shore of Lake Erie in both New York and Pennsylvania, attracting the likes of Dr. Charles Welch, who relocated his grape juice operations to Westfield in 1897.

Regional wineries sprung up during the grape boom of the 19th century but went out of business due to Prohibition in 1919. While New York permitted commercial wineries after Prohibition, it was not until 1968 when wineries were allowed to reopen in Pennsylvania. Today, the Grape Belt spans almost 60 miles along the southern shore of Lake Erie. Quaint towns dot the Grape Belt, which is now home to the Grape Discovery Center and boutique wineries that welcome thousands of visitors each year.

Dottie Rexford graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia with a degree in English. She won the 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards for her novel “Cora Pooler” in the categories Women’s Fiction (unpublished) and Book of the Year (unpublished).

Twenty years ago, Cora Pooler, a young Amish woman, abandoned a newborn child in the village of Wander Lane. Her deed was discovered and reported to the sheriff and then to Bishop Herrfort. Because Cora was unwilling to repent and would not explain the circumstances of her actions, the uncompromising Herrfort placed her under the Bann.

An outcast in her community, she knew the shunning would continue until she obeyed the regulations of the Amish rule book. Cora left the Amish community to live in the English world. Older now, her head and heart are filled with the past. She needs answers. Cora Pooler returns to Wander Lane.

In a compelling story of a divided heart aching to find truth and resolution, Dottie Rexford captures the longings and emotions that belong to all who seek deep and rich relationships, all who doubt to seek answers, and all who seek to be whole.

Visit the Grape Discovery Center and meet authors Jewel Leigh Ellis and Dottie Rexford! They will be happy to sign a copy of their book and answer any questions you may have. For further inquiries regarding this book signing please contact the Grape Discovery Center at 326-2003.

The Grape Discovery Center is located at 8305 West Main Road, Westfield.