Saturday, May 23, 2009

PAWINERIES BECOME MINI-VACATION DESTINATIONS



Monday, May 18, 2009
PENNSYLVANIA WINERIES BECOME MINI-VACATION DESTINATIONS AS TRAVELERS SEEK CLOSER-TO-HOME FUN One million visitors predicted at wineries throughout the state in 2009
PENNSYLVANIA WINERIES BECOME MINI-VACATION

DESTINATIONS AS TRAVELERS SEEK CLOSER-TO-HOME FUN
One million visitors predicted at wineries throughout the state in 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa. (May 1, 2009) – With vacation budgets shrinking, it might not be the right time for that seven-day cruise or trip to Australia, but Pennsylvania’s wineries and other local attractions are raising a glass to a different type of get-away: The regional mini-vacation.

In what is predicted to be a busy 2009 for the state winery industry, the Commonwealth’s vintners expect an increase in tourism traffic, as residents and out-of-state visitors search for closer, more affordable destinations with all the excitement and stress-relieving benefits of traditional vacations.

To create more enticing holiday hideaways, some wine makers are going beyond the usual wine tastings and tours by expanding their event calendars and rolling out the red carpet for would-be guests. Upcoming attractions throughout the state include a series of winemaker’s dinners at Arrowhead Wine Cellars outside Erie, a Wine Tasting for Singles event at Crossing Vineyards in the Philadelphia countryside, and a summer concert series at Lancaster County’s Nissley Vineyards.

“Visitors want more than just a taste of wine, they want an experience,” said Bob Mazza, former president of the Pennsylvania Winery Association (PWA) and owner of Mazza Vineyards outside Erie, Pa. “It’s up to us to create that experience and to give people a reason to visit, whether they live next door or in the next state.”

In 2005, the last year that totals were reported, 877,000 visits were made to Pennsylvania wineries with $167 million in tourism expenditures. Sam Landis, president of the PWA, which counts nearly 100 wineries as members, says state winery traffic could top one million visitors in 2009.

“Many people spend the day visiting multiple wineries or incorporating a winery visit into other local stops,” said Landis. “But we’re also seeing a lot of out-of-state mini-vacationers. These are people who are spending one or two nights in a region and really exploring what the area has to offer. Often, a winery or wine trail is the centerpiece of that vacation.”

Pennsylvania is the nation’s eighth largest wine producer, with approximately 919,950 gallons produced in 2007. For more information about Pennsylvania wineries, visit pennsylvaniawine.com.