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ARC State Program Manager Comments

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Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Total Qualifying Score: 10
County (ARC Region): Yes
State (ARC Region): Yes
Q3. IRS Status: Nonprofit – 2
Q4. Parent Entity: No – 1
Q5. 2 or More Full-Time Employees : Yes (as of 12/31/2019)
Q7. Budget Level: $250,001 to $1.5 million – 5 (Last Fiscal Year Actual Income)
Q8. Restricted Reserves: No – 1
Q9. CARES Act Funding: No – 1
Q13. Participation by Executive: Yes


Seneca Lake Wine Trail
Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, New York 14891

County (ARC Region) Schuyler
State (ARC Region) New York


Q1. Mission:

To develop a spirit of cooperation between members of the association to develop an outstanding wine-producing
and tourism area.
To promote the wineries of the Seneca Lake Winery Association.
To stimulate interest in wine in general and the wines of Seneca Lake, specifically.
To gain recognition of the SLWA as an independent leader in the grape growing, wine and tourism initiatives.

Q2. How organization aligns with ARC’s Plan & Goals:

The Seneca Lake Winery Association, doing business as the Seneca Lake Wine Trail is responsible for the support, education, and promotion of its 30-member wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. We align with numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 of the ARC strategic plan goals specifically in the following ways:

  • Goal #1: Our members pool their resources in the form of membership dues. The Association then invests and connects with other larger organizations such as Wine America, the NY Wine and Grape Foundation, and the Wine Origins Alliance, to connect wineries with business development to strengthen our local, regional, and state economy.
  • Goals #2 and 5: Increase the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents to work and succeed in Appalachia. We provide educational opportunities including webinars and in-person seminars; we share marketing and business support. Prior to COVID-19, we were building a connection with the next generation through a mentorship program, run by our local chamber of commerce. We also position the wine industry on Seneca Lake as a high visibility, year-round opportunity for employment, to attract current and future residents to stay here or relocate to the region.
  • Goal #4: It doesn’t get much more natural than grapes and vineyards here in the Finger Lakes, and everything we do leverages the tremendous natural assets including the land, water, beautiful views, and unique terroir of Seneca Lake.

Q3. IRS Filing Status: 501(c)(6)   

Q4. Unit or Chapter of Larger Organization: No

Q5. Employees:

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 2/0 (as of 9/1/2020)

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 2/0 (as of 12/31/2019)

Current Year Income/Expenses: $206,000/$405603

Q6. Fiscal Year: Calendar

Q7. Budget Level

Last Fiscal Year Income/Expenses (Actual): $$806,056 / $704,841

Current Year Income/Expenses (Projected): $206,000 / $405603

Balance Sheet

Q8. Restricted Reserves (Amount): No ($)

Q9. CARES Act Funding (Amount): No ($)
Received From:   Date Received:
For What Purpose(s):

Q10. Negative Impacts from COVID-19:

As an organization that relies nearly exclusively on ticket sales to special events, we have lost nearly all of our income for the majority of 2020 and likely, for a substantial portion (if not all) of 2021. We are working hard to refocus our efforts and explore new revenue streams, but making that change does not happen quickly especially in an organization that has been drawing income from one primary source for over 3 decades.

We are incredibly lucky to have predecessors who were phenomenal stewards of the organization’s finances, so we are safe, operationally, for at least the next year, but we also know we need to continue spending to keep visitors coming our doors. Despite having a reserve in the form of investments and even by trimming expenses, we cannot rely on our investment accounts infinitely nor do we want to deplete them without some other form of revenue to replenish the funds.

In addition to providing substantial

Q11. Top Three Concerns:
The inability to host large special events as we have in the past and the loss of income and visitation those events generated.
The ability of our wineries to weather the storm. If tasting rooms are shut down again, surviving the winter when they can’t use their outdoor space, and so on – these are all major challenges for wineries.
The unpredictability of the situation and lack of advance warning to businesses when it comes to shut downs, restrictions, and so on.

How Participation in Program Will Address Concerns:

I am especially interested in the short and long term financial management portions, as well as the fundraising portions of the program. As the Executive Director, I am eager to equip myself with any and all knowledge available to help our organization weather this storm and not just survive, but thrive.


Q12. Applying as a Proposed Cohort? No

Q13. Executive Director or CEO Will Participate in the Program? Yes

Q14. Top Two Choices for Cohort Instruction:

Course #1 Choice: 1-Fundraising

Course #2 Choice: 2-Long-term Financial Management

Q15. Desired Course Schedule for Cohort Instruction:

#1 Desired Course Schedule: 1-Winter 2021 A: 5-Week Course (Jan. 25, 2021 – Feb. 28, 2021)

#2 Desired Course Schedule: 2-Winter 2021 B: 5-Week Course (Mar. 1, 2021-April 4, 2021)


Name: Brittany Gibson Gibson, Executive Director

Application Approved by Organization Director or CEO? Yes, Approved by Executive Director/CEO

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