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Two area wineries now producing hand sanitizer

Mazza Five & 20 Spirits is now working six days a week to produce hand sanitizer, much of which will be donated to health, non-profits, local healthcare workers, and Five and 20's internal use. Submitted Photo.

Some area wineries are switching things up to make hand sanitizer.

As posted on the new website for Mazza Five & 20 Spirits, “Alcohol is more important than ever — but not in the way you might think! Some of the same processes and ingredients that we employ in the production of our spirits can be utilized to produce hand sanitizer.”

Mazza Five & 20 Spirits, which is located at 8938 W. Main St., Westfield, is utilizing the ingredients, equipment, and processes they already have in place, and redirecting 100 percent of its efforts to distill hand sanitizer under the strict guidelines and cooperation of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — retaining 30 full-time employees in the process.

Mario Mazza, Vice President and General Manager, predicts the winery, brewery, and distillery will be able to produce 3,000 gallons of hand sanitizer immediately, with 400 gallons or more produced weekly as long as it takes to come through the current COVID-19 crisis and sanitizer shortage. When asked for an idea about what that quantity represents, Mazza explained that in a normal week, Five & 20’s operations would use an average of two gallons of sanitizer in spray bottles to clean surfaces in the tasting room.

“We are shifting to six production days per week,” said Mazza, which is up from the regular four to five days per week.

Arundel has donated 300 gallons of red wine for distillation, which will be turned into hand sanitizer for donation to local first responders, medical center and retirement homes. Submitted Photo.

Any excess distilling capability can also be utilized to convert product from the region’s wineries that doesn’t meet quality standards for sale.

Initial efforts are focused on donating sanitizer to departments of health, non-profits, local healthcare workers, and Five and 20’s internal use. Final product will initially be sent to North East Community Nurses, Community Resources for Independence, Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Josephite Sisters of Erie, Bay City Cremations, and Our Lady of Mercy. There will also be small bottles available at Five & 20/Mazza Chautauqua Cellars in Westfield for customers and those in the community in need, limited to one per customer.

Chautauqua County and the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) have led the charge in communicating the need for additional PPE production countywide, encouraging manufacturers to retool, where practicable, to produce supplies needed for COVID-19 pandemic response.

County Executive PJ Wendel stated, “Mazza is another company that is stepping up to address the needs created by the COVID-19 crisis, and I really commend Mario and the Mazza Team for being both proactive and flexible.”

Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development/Chief Executive Officer of the CCIDA said, “Manufacturers from throughout the County are validating their resiliency, flexibility, and craftiness as they pivot their operations to address the needs created by the pandemic. The Mazza Team is another company that moved quickly to manufacture products needed for this emergency cause.”

Starting this week, Five & 20 plans to make sanitizer available for sale to for-profit businesses considered essential. Sales will help offset staff salaries and operating costs. Five & 20 whiskies and bourbon continue to be available for purchase online or by phone and can be shipped or picked up, curbside, at the distillery. All sales proceeds support the hand sanitizer production. For more information, visit https://fiveand20.com/distilled-with-love or call 716-793-9463.

Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing isn’t the only winery in the concord grape belt region to do this. Arundel Cellars & Brewing Co., headquartered at 11727 E. Main Road (Rt. 20), in North East, Pa. is contributing to area coronavirus relief efforts as well.

First, the winery/brewery recently contributed 300 gallons of red wine for distillation by Conneaut Cellars Winery in Conneaut, Pennsylvania. Once the wine is distilled, it will be turned into hand sanitizer for donation to local first responders, medical centers and retirement homes in North East, Pa. and the tri-state area.

“We had been talking as a board of directors about what we could do to help the community, and a few moments later, I received an email message from Joel Wolfe, owner of Conneaut Cellars Winery, looking for wine to distill,” explained Lauri Boettcher, partner & winemaker, Arundel Cellars & Brewing Co.

“We loaded 300 gallons of wine for them. The Arundel family is extremely happy to be able to help first responders, medical centers and retirement homes in this way,” she continued.

Second, Arundel Cellars & Brewing Co. is donating $2 for every bottle of wine or 12-pack of High Key sold to-go and online to the Emergency Financial Assistance Fund recently created by Erie Arts and Culture. This program is designed to help professionals who are experiencing a disruption to their income and are in need of assistance.

“We chose to donate to this fund because we have had the pleasure of hosting so many local musicians at Arundel,” said Adam Schwindt, Marketing Director, Arundel Cellars & Brewing Co.

“In this way, we hope to help community musicians and others hurt by the impact of the coronavirus on their livelihood.”

A variety of to-go appetizers and delicious entrees are available every day at Arundel; and premium wine and delicious cold crowlers of beer are also being packaged to go. Those who want to stock their pantries by purchasing a case or more of bottled wine or a 12-pack of High Key online at arundelcellars.com, will receive free shipping through April 13.

Arundel Cellars & Brewing Co. is a family-owned winery/brewery headquartered in a beautifully restored 19th century barn nestled among the vineyards of scenic North East. Arundel enjoys the unique position of being the first winery in the area offering both premium wine and craft beer. Together, the Arundel family has more than 100 years of combined grape-growing and wine-making experience.

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