Orbitz Insider Index Reveals Fastest-Growing Destinations for Wine and Culinary Enthusiasts

Sep 19, 2007, 01:00 ET from Orbitz Worldwide

    CHICAGO, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- With great wine producers
 located throughout the country, there is no shortage of vineyards for a
 fall grape getaway -- and food and wine enthusiasts appear to be growing in
 number along with the prime destinations. Focusing on the
 fastest-growing(1) wine regions in the U.S., the 2007 Orbitz Food & Wine
 Index shows that while California's Napa Valley is still king, almost
 doubling its overall growth in Orbitz bookings since 2005, other regions of
 the country are coming on strong. From the pinots of the Pacific Northwest
 to cabernets of Kalamazoo, the Orbitz (http://www.orbitz.com) Insider Index
 is redefining "wine country."
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     "No matter where you live in the U.S., you're probably not more than a
 few hours away from a great vacation that pairs a nice hotel with a local
 vineyard," said Heather Leisman, senior director of merchandising for
 Orbitz. "Fall is a great time for food and wine lovers to enjoy the many
 harvest festivals and winery tours, which often combine fine cuisine with
 the best in local wines."
     Which Regions Toast The Most?
     Distinctive wines combined with southern hospitality have vaulted the
 Texas Hill and Arkansas Wine Countries to the #2 and #3 spots respectively
 on the Orbitz Insider Index fastest-growing list. And the Pacific Northwest
 is gaining on California as the place to be when it comes to wine
 excursions. Three of the top ten fastest-growing regions in the U.S. hail
 from points of interest in Washington and Oregon. And before snow starts to
 fall in the Midwest, there are a number of growing wine regions that have
 given destinations in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Michigan four of the top
 10 spots.
     The top 10 fastest-growing wine regions in the U.S., based on hotel and
 package (flight + hotel) bookings on Orbitz.com from 2005-2007 are as
              The Orbitz Food & Wine Index
        Fastest Growing Wine Regions from 2005-2007
     RANK                                 DESTINATION*
      1                               Napa Valley, California
      2                                 Texas Hill Country
                                (Fredericksburg, Dripping Springs,
                                           Marble Falls)
      3                                 Arkansas Wine Country
                                          (Paris, Altus)
      4                               Puget Sound, Washington
      5                        Columbia Cascades and North Central
      6                               Grand River Valley, Ohio
      7                           Nashville (TN)/Bloomington Area,
      8                            Applegate/Rogue Valley, Oregon
      9                                Lake Erie Region, Ohio
      10                                 Kalamazoo, Michigan
  *Based on hotel and package bookings on Orbitz.com 6/1-11/1, from 2005-2007.
                     **Bookings made for each year by 9/5.
                        ***Minimum 200 bookings required
     Wine and Dine Across America
     While the beaches of Baja and Falls of Niagara may be known for
 unparalleled natural beauty, they are also bastions of delicious food and
 wine. The Insiders at Orbitz have highlighted these and some of their other
 favorite selections across North and Central America for exciting food and
 wine, keeping travelers "A Step Ahead(TM)" by showcasing some possible
 future top destinations and drive-to regions both north and south of the
 U.S. border.
     United States
     San Diego Region
     Although northern California tends to be more famous for wine, southern
 California offers some quality local wines in addition to its scenic
 beaches. The San Diego Wine & Culinary Center is conveniently located in
 downtown San Diego and features an urban winery where visitors can enjoy a
 tour and wine tasting. Travelers looking to enjoy the very best in what the
 region has to offer should attend the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
 (November 14-17) which will feature 160 world-class wineries and food from
 60 fine dining restaurants! Vacationers looking to spend some quality time
 at a vineyard can rent a car and drive north of San Diego to San Pasqual
 Valley where several vineyards offer tours and tasting throughout the year.
 With so many different options, plus proximity to seaside excitement, the
 San Diego region is an ideal place to visit.
     Philadelphia Countryside
     Known primarily for its importance in early U.S. history, Philadelphia
 offers much more than monuments and museums. The city is actually in the
 vicinity of 18 wineries, six of which make up the Brandywine Valley wine
 trail, located just 25 minutes away. The vineyards come together on
 September 29th and 30th to celebrate HarvestFest, which features concerts,
 picnics and other special activities; tours and tastings are also available
 throughout the year. When it comes to cuisine, Philadelphia is bursting
 with places to eat. For a variety of foods in one location, travelers
 should be sure to visit Reading Terminal Market. In operation since the
 1860's, the market is home to over 80 merchants featuring a wide variety of
 both local and ethnic selections. There is so much to see and try at the
 market that there are even daily tours. Of course no trip to the City of
 Brotherly Love is worth taking unless you take the time to enjoy a Philly
 Cheese Steak. Be sure to ask a local for his or her favorite cheese steak
     Baja Region
     While traditionally recognized for its expertise in all things tequila,
 in recent years Mexico has garnered great praise for its passion and
 dedication to the art of producing the perfect glass of wine. Be sure to
 check out the city of Ensenada, a beautiful coastal city that has not lost
 its small town charm. In addition to striking vistas of the Pacific Coast
 and Gulf of California, the city is within a day's trip from the country's
 three most prized wine-producing areas -- San Antonio de las Minas, the San
 Vicente Valley and the Santo Tomas Valley. While enjoying one of Baja's
 best vintages, travelers can take advantage of the region's beloved
 cuisine, offering fine seafood dishes including shrimp tacos and ceviche.
 In September, the city is host to the Ensenada Seafood, Lobster and Tequila
 Festival, a delicious time for visitors looking to experience the regions
 very best in food and wine.
     Sonora Region
     Another area not to be overlooked is Mexico's Sonora region. Although
 not as popular as the Baja region, Sonora is home to over half of Mexico's
 vineyards, offering a picturesque destination for wine enthusiasts. Many of
 the wine grapes are actually shipped to the Baja region or even Arizona. As
 a result most wine is produced by local boutique wineries which offer
 visitors an intimate look into the region's long and storied history with
 viticulture. Visitors looking to relax should visit Guaymas, home to both
 the mountains and the sea. Here vacationers can enjoy the beach, as well as
 local Yaqui tribe villages. In addition to local wine, visitors looking for
 another local drink should be sure to try Bacanora. This drink is produced
 from agave Pacifica and is named after the city from which it originated.
     Tucked between two mountain ranges and running north through British
 Columbia, the Okanagan region features some of Canada's best scenery and
 wine. The region begins in the town of Osoyoos in the southernmost part of
 the Valley, just north of the Washington border. Osoyoos offers quaint
 lodging and dining options, including several bed and breakfasts, allowing
 the leisure traveler to begin a tour of the region well-rested and
 well-fed. From Osoyoos, visitors can continue north through the wine
 country, stopping at wineries along the way for tours and tastings of some
 of the area's premiere reds and whites. Another must see city is Penticton.
 Nestled between two lakes, visitors to this city can enjoy numerous fall
 festivals celebrating the area's wine. Vacationers should be sure to try
 Joy Road Catering's famous "food of the earth," served every Sunday through
 October. This combination of great food, local wine and panoramic views of
 Skaha Lake is not to be missed!
     Niagara Region
     The Niagara region of Ontario offers visitors a beautiful backdrop for
 touring the region's 68 wineries. Chock full of festivals, tours and
 tastings, concerts, excellent cuisine, artisan shows and family
 entertainment, the area has something for everyone. Quaint
 Niagara-on-the-Lake is nestled within the Niagara Region and is perfectly
 situated among the wine country to delight tourists with its water
 adventures, golf courses, fine dining and close proximity to wineries. The
 scenery extends beyond the many vineyards, however, as the region is just a
 short drive from the breathtaking Niagara Falls. For travelers looking to
 visit a major national hub, Toronto is only an hour drive from the region
 and boasts more than 7,000 restaurants that reflect cultures and cuisines
 from around the world.
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     (1) Based on hotel and package bookings growth on Orbitz.com from

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