Napa and Sonoma are blessed not only with great wineries but also with spectacular scenery. What better way to combine the two than with a short flight to your tasting? Here are three ways to take in the terroir—both in a glass and from above.
Aileron Estates really leans into the aerial theme. Aside from the name, its founder, Shannon O’Shaughnessy, is a pilot, and her business offers a one-of-a-kind tour in an open-cockpit Boeing PT-17 Stearman, a biplane model that was used for training during the 1930s and ’40s. Up to two passengers at a time can spend around 20 minutes buzzing over Wine Country. Whether you give your pilot (one of Vintage Aircraft Co.’s certified commercial flyers) the thumbs-up to do barrel rolls and hammerhead dives, or you simply want to feel the wind on your face, upon landing you’ll be whisked to Brasswood Estate for a tasting of Aileron’s cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc.
$550 per person, aileronestates.com
Hot-air balloons have long been a popular way to see Wine Country, and Sonoma Ballooning offers a couple of options to incorporate actual wine consumption into your ride. Oenophiles will be drawn to the Balloon & Blending package: Following a flight of about an hour, guests will join a blending seminar at Sonoma’s Meadowcroft Wines, where instructors provide everything you’ll need to combine cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot into a Bordeaux-style blend. Animal lovers might instead opt for a package that includes post-flight visits to the Charlie’s Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary and two vegan wineries, with La Belle Vie Tours.
Balloon & Blending package, $380 per person; Charlie’s Acres package, $434 per person; sonomaballooning.com
The Russian River Valley’s beloved Farmhouse Inn and Paul Hobbs Winery combine to help guests live the high life with their Farm, Flight, & Field package. Start with a night at the cloistered hotel, which includes a seven-course dinner (with pairings from Paul Hobbs) at the property’s Michelin-starred restaurant. In the morning, head to the winery in Sebastopol for a tasting, then board a helicopter—on the estate’s own helipad!—for a four-hour tour that will chopper you to the coast for a picnic at the remote Goldrock Estate, followed by a touchdown for a cocktail at the Inn at Newport Ranch, on the Mendocino Coast. The cliffs along the Pacific are the only thing that’s rugged about this ride.
Starting at $10,000 for two nights, farmhouseinn.com