'Confusing' detour hurts winery businesses
BARRINGTON—The Route 54 work is completed, but it caused concerns for wineries along the east side of Keuka Lake.
“It was confusing to customers. Even with the detours,” said John McGregor, owner of McGregor Winery.
The state Department of Transportation closed off a section of Route 54, near the Olney Place in Barrington, to replace a culvert. Detour signs were put up in Penn Yan and at the Route 230 intersection of 54 to direct traffic away from the road. However, there were signs up saying the wine trail along the “closed” Route 54 was open.
The “wine trail open” signs were put up by the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. Eileen Farnan, owner of Barrington Cellars and the Keuka Lake Wine Trail president, said the signs “funneled” customers past the detour signs and around the actual road closure using side roads.
McGregor said people didn’t know why the detour directed traffic to use Route 14A and 230, and not Old Bath Road. While he saw an impact to business, McGregor said, “it’s not as drastic as I thought it would be.”
“We estimate we lost about $7,000 and $10,000 in sales during that period,” said Lisa Hallgren, owner of Ravines Wine Cellar. “Customers coming from the south would not go around the barrier like they were expected to do and customers coming from the north mostly never arrived.”
Phil Kruk, tasting room worker at Ravines, explained one couple from Penn Yan called Ravines asking for directions to get to the winery. Ravines is located right on Route 54.
“Customers were certainly not happy running around,” Farnan said. She added the wineries tried to have maps available to direct people through the side roads.
Winery visitors weren’t the only drivers who experienced problems. Farnan said the first night the barricades went up around the work, a truck tried to drive up Gray Road. She said the semi-truck could not make it and had to back down the hill.
Amy Hoffman, owner of Rooster Hill Vineyards, said the road work definitely impacted visitor traffic during the week. She said even though it is near the end of the busy tourist season, sales were softer. Hoffman added she wished the winery had been notified beforehand about the work.