In honor of National Wine Day May 25 (which happens to fall on Memorial Day this year), we scoured the states for a few kindred souls who love aviation and wine. Cheers to these nine vineyards and events that would make any aviation loving oenophile smile! In no particular order:
#1 – Airfield Estates – WWII field a winery
Located in Washington’s famed Yakima Valley, Airfield Estates has been a working farm for 100 years. While its fields were only tilled for aircraft during WWII, the owners pay homage to their aviation roots at every opportunity. Check out the control tower tasting room. Admire the labels. And take in the aviation photos, artifacts and WWII ambiance.
#2 – Wings Over Wine Country Air Show – Name says it all!
The Charles M. Schultz airport – home to Sky Lounge Steakhouse and Sushi Bar – is ground zero for people who love wine and airplanes each Fall. This year’s event, September 26 and 27, features aerobatic performances, warbird fly-bys, static vintage planes and classic cars. Produced with the Pacific Coast Air Museum, this fan-favorite air show is the perfect way to celebrate a successful harvest.
#3 – Saltwater Farm Vineyard – Farm fields vintage hangar
When lawyer Michael Connery purchased the former Foster Field in 2001, he honored its aviation heritage by restoring the vintage hangar and maintaining a 1,800’ grass landing strip. Designed by John Lincoln — the architect credited with creating the modern Quonset Hut, the hangar was preserved and reimagined as a winery. This former community airfield now produces six varietals of wine and hosts events and concerts in the beautifully restored tasting room. Saltwater’s picture perfect location is rated one of the most beautiful wedding venues in the U.S. by Brides magazine.
#4 – Chandelle Winery – Custom labels for aviation buffs
We discovered Chandelle’s lovely wines at Flying Magazine’s Aviation Expo. Available directly from the winery, we loved the option to order these award winning Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines with one of 40 labels featuring contemporary and historic aircraft. Chandelle takes its name from a term describing a challenging aviation maneuver. Founded by the Arnold family, whose aviation roots date to 1911. Check out their history online, arrange a private tasting, or order your favorite wine with a custom label.
#5 – Walla Walla Wineries – Wine Walk
With two dozen wineries and tasting rooms within walking distance from the Walla Walla Airport, there’s something for everyone. And, if you’re flying commercial, wines fly free on Alaska Airlines. Download the self-guided walking tour map of Walla Walla’s wine trail between Main Street and 2nd Avenue.
Minnesota’s first winery and brewery combination is conveniently located near the Molnau Airpark (1MN5). This delightful destination host numerous events including progressive dinners, painting parties, food trucks and bocce ball tournaments.
#7 – Beneduce Vineyards – Delaware River Valley’s pilot destination
Situated next to the popular Sky Manor Airport, Beneduce Vineyard’s year-round tasting room features wines made from the Blaufränkisch, Gweurztraminer and Cabernet Franc grapes suited to New Jersey’s cooler temperatures. The adjacent pilot-owned airport is home to Sky Cafe and two ballooning companies.
#8 – Chateau Aeronautique Winery – Michigan aviator pilots vineyard
Owned and operated by a wine-loving pilot, Chateau Aeronautique celebrates the airpark lifestyle: Flying, vintage airplanes, and living in a home with hangar on a grass runway surrounded by forests. Tasting Room open seven days a week, May through December.
Check out their special events or book a tasting at this Iowa winery and vineyard. Their Flight Path line pays tribute to the crop dusters that take off from and land at adjacent Mount Pleasant Municipal Airport (KMPZ). Unfortunately, wines are not yet available for shipment. Open for tastings by appointment only. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Know other aviation-wine pairings? Post them here or on our Facebook page. Cheers!