I love wine. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent on wine because I’ll probably start getting depressed. Just kidding. Even though I’m no expert in wine, it’s something I’ve taken a liking to in the past couple of years. I hate going to a restaurant and not be able to pick a wine bottle that I know I would like. So, for the past couple of years, I’ve decided to slowly educate myself more about wines and have visited famous wine regions like Napa, Sonoma, and Bordeaux. Nowadays, I’m more interested in wines from lesser known regions. It’s almost like a hunt to find the next great wine. Also, the tastings are much cheaper, which brings me to the topic of this blog post today.
Disclaimer: This is not a partnership blog post with Alaska Airlines. This is solely my experience using their Wines Fly Free program and all opinions are of my own.
WINES FLY FREE
A couple weeks ago, we did a massive road trip around Oregon with the intent of getting more outdoors. But let’s be real, it was mainly for wine tasting. One of the big draws of choosing Oregon was due to the amazing program that Alaska Airlines has called Wines Fly Free and there are two major benefits to it. The first benefit allows you to check in one case (12 bottles) of wine for free out of any of the 30 West Coast cities. That’s a savings of $30 right there! If you don’t have a dedicated wine suitcase, the wineries will be more than happy to help pack it up for you.
How Does it Work:
- Book a flight in and out of the 30 West Coast cities participating in the Wine Flies Free offer.
- Make sure you are a Mileage Plan member and that your number is on your reservation. This will ensure that your first case (12 bottles) of wine flies free!
- Protect all your bottles with good packing material such as Styrofoam, cardboard liners, or bubble wrap. If you ask the winery, they can even help you. Just make sure you don’t seal it until you get to the airport.
- Check your properly packed case of wine with an Alaska Airlines customer service agent at our ticketing counter. They will inspect the box, seal it, and put fragile stickers on it for you.
(Infographic from AlaskaAirlines.com)
FREE WINE TASTING
The second benefit of the program is not really known, but there’s an actual list of hundreds of wineries where they offer a free wine tasting. Yes, that’s right, absolutely FREE (as long as it’s not a holiday weekend). This is unheard of, right? Free wine?! Especially nowadays where wine tastings can cost anywhere from $20-$50 dollars, this amounts to huge savings.
So, how it works is, if you are visiting participating wineries in Oregon or Washington, save your boarding pass along with proof that you are a Mileage Plan Member. Let your server know ahead of ordering that you want to do the Alaska Airlines Complimentary Tasting. They will either look confused and have no idea what you’re talking about or they will be excited and direct you to what tasting you can do.
Our strategy was to call every winery ahead of our trip just to confirm that they were still doing the free wine tasting promotion. You never know, especially with COVID. I would say about 75-80% of the wineries we called said yes and were excited to see us. Even though we called ahead, some wineries were still confused once we got there. Not a big deal though. All we had to do is show them that they were listed on the website and they’ve honored it every single time. Below are website links that take you to all of the participating wineries.
Oregon (All of Oregon) – Within 10 Days of Landing
Washington (Tri-Cities, Yakima Valley) – Within 10 Days of Landing
Washington (Walla Walla) – Within 7 Days of Landing
Washington (Spokane) – Within 48 Hours of Landing
ROUGE VALLEY WINERIES
We started our wine trip in southwest Oregon near Medford in a region called Rogue Valley. The climate is hotter and drier so it’s good for wines that are usually found in Napa Valley. We actually had five wineries planned, but due to a series of unfortunate events, we only got to try two. Hoping one day to return to that area, but for now, I’m happy to share with you the two we did try.
If you are planning on doing the Alaska Airlines Free Wine Tasting, please try to support them by buying a bottle or two. Or if none of the wines appeal to you, at least make sure you leave a nice tip! A lot of these wineries are small business and they do this program to help get their name out there.
Regarding COVID, the two places we visited had ample outdoor patio seating which was nice. Not sure if Oregon has different rules for different counties like California, but no one was sitting indoors from what I can observed. Everyone is required to wear a mask when you are walking around, but it can be removed at the table.
DEL RIO VINEYARDS (WINERY #1)
Tasting: $10 for Five Wines (Complimentary with Alaska Airlines)
There’s only one menu so we ordered two of the same tasting. When we tried to explain the Alaska Free Wine Tasting program, the person that was helping us said that she’s never heard of that before and that she’s been working for five years there. She knew about the wines “flying free,” but had no idea about the free wine tasting. We had to explain to her a little by showing her the website, but in the end, she happily comped the tastings! We ended up buying the rosé and vc (viognier+chardonnay) blend.
KRISELLE CELLARS (WINERY #2)
Tasting: $10 for Four Wines (Complimentary with Alaska Airlines)
There are two options available for you to choose from: Red & White Flight or Reds Only Flight. We let our server know that we were planning on doing the Alaska Free Wine Tasting and of course, she was not aware of the program. So, we had to show her the website and then she was totally fine with it. It’s funny because she was the exact same person we spoke to on the phone who confirmed the program. Either way, no harm, no foul. She was amazing and we had a great time. We ended up ordering both the flights so we could try more wines. We decided to pick up one bottle of the albariño.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate and leave a comment below. Would love to know if you’re interested if you’re visiting anytime soon. Look out for Part 2 of our wine tasting adventures in the next couple of posts!