August 31, 2004
  • Wine tours to Neiba?
  • Low cost fares from Florida
  • US Airways announces FLL as Caribbean gateway
  • Olympics in Casa de Campo
Wine tours to Neiba?
Wine growing in the Caribbean? The land and climate conditions of Neiba, in the province of Bahoruco (an easy three and a half hour drive west of Santo Domingo) have created what seems to be a miracle the first bottles of wine that could have been produced in any of the world's best vineyards. Under the guidance of the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias y Forestales (IDIAF), the Programa Especial de Desarrollo de la Fruticultura (Prodefurt) and the Direccion General de Desarrollo Fronterizo (DGDF), four government entities, and with the support of a cooperative of winegrowers from Italy, the wine-producing project in Neiba is definitely worth a visit. Neiba is perfect for wine growing because it features daily high day temperatures of 33C+ and chilly 18C evenings, with rainfall a scant 473 milimeters per year, together with abundant sources of underground water. With the assistance of the Italian consultants, some 30 varieties were planted, of which 8 wine varieties were chosen to continue to be planted and developed, and 4 grape varieties for eating. The first wine bottles were produced in August. The pilot program is located in Plaza Cacique, Neiba and has proved the venture is feasible. The project principals are now looking for a partner willing to invest RD$20 million to make it commercially viable. The first phase that has been successfully completed proved the feasibility of the venture that could produce all the wine the country consumes.
Low cost fares from Florida
Spirit Airlines, the leading low-fare airline, announced today its daily non-stop service from Fort Lauderdale to Santo Domingo as of 18 November 2004. The flights offer connections to Atlantic City, Cancun, Chicago/O'Hare, NY/La Guardia, Providence and Washington, D.C./Reagan National. The flights to Santo Domingo's Las Americas International come at a time the US Department of Transportation has granted the airline authority to fly to 11 Caribbean destinations. In the press release announcing the service, company CEO Jacob Schorr explains that the new flight is part of its increased service to the Caribbean. An introductory fare of US$59 plus hefty taxes and airport charges applies to the Santo Domingo-Fort Lauderdale direct flight, and fares if US$89 plus hefty taxes and charges to the connecting flights.
Founded in 1990, Fort Lauderdale-based Spirit Airlines had the second highest load factor of any US airline and is the largest privately-held airline in the US.
US Airways announces FLL as Caribbean gateway
US Airways expects to begin flying to Santo Domingo's Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport as of 13 February 2005. The flight will be part of the airline's expansion in the Caribbean.
"The addition of a Caribbean and Latin American gateway in South Florida allows us to continue our expansion in the region by reaching beyond the leisure markets, which have become a strength for US Airways," said B. Ben Baldanza, US Airways senior vice president of marketing and planning. "We are committed to bringing low, simple fares and easy access for all customers to South Florida and major U.S. cities, a market that has been dominated by a single carrier for years. With this expansion, we are pleased to offer a value-added alternative to larger, congested airports." See
The Fort Lauderdale to Santo Domingo route would by then be covered by at least three airlines -- American Airlines, Spirit and USAir.
The Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, a 40 minute drive from Miami International, is gaining in popularity as a way to avoid the long lines at the congested Miami International Airport.
Olympics in Casa de Campo
Sports writer Lang Whitaker didn't get sent to cover the Olympics, so he decided to stage his own in the Dominican Republic and tell his story for the Sports Illustrated/CNN web site. He headed for Casa de Campo resort in La Romana, motivated by the resort's reputation as one of the best sports and activities resorts in the Caribbean. His goal was to challenge himself and to push his limits to new heights. From Thursday to Sunday, he took up golfing at Teeth of the Dog and Dye Four courses, shooting at the sporting clays, riding at the Equestrian Center and fishing in the Caribbean waters and upon his return shared his experiences in a humor-filled online SI report. He concludes from his own Olympics, that it's not about the results, it's about the process. "It's finding joy in the journey, making friends and enjoying yourself while competing," he writes. To read about his sporting experience, see

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