The Wineries, Vineyards, and Valleys You Should Actually Be Traveling ToJune 11, 2018
You may know all there is to know about Napa Valley, but are you as familiar with Paso Robles, just some 250 miles south of there? While Bordeaux, France may sound boring to any well-travelled wino, not many can say they’ve explored the lovely vino of the Loire Valley, only 380 kilometers to the north.
This summer, give yourself the opportunity to check out one of these lesser-known, ASG-approved wineries and vineyards. And when you’ve made your selection, reach out and let Aircraft Services Group help you get there — in the most convenient, most comfortable way possible.
Coeur de Terre Vineyard, Oregon
Getting to Couer de Terre is half of the fun, with stunning panoramas of the Willamette Valley that have to be experienced to be believed. And with a chartered flight, you can land just 14 miles away from the vineyard, at Aurora State Airport (accessible only by private jet).
Once you’ve arrived, winemakers Scott and Lisa Neal will treat you to a bounty of their handcrafted, organically farmed, artisanal wines in a tasting room reminiscent of a cozy Yosemite lodge; all while imparting an impressive amount of in-depth knowledge about the different soil types in the vineyard and how each of them affect certain qualities in their signature blends.
Hemel-En-Aarde, South Africa
Literally translated as “Heaven on Earth,” this South African valley situated amongst mountains and bordering an ocean boasts vineyards that stretch along its floor all the way up its foothills to altitudes of up to 350m above sea level, leading to a unique forte in elegant, Burgundian-style cool-climate wines (e.g. pinot noirs, chardonnays).
They all lie within close proximity to one another so you’ll be able to squeeze more than a few into one day, though make sure to save time for La Vierge Winery and their awe-striking catwalk, Newton Johnson Vineyards and their critically-acclaimed pinot noir, and Ataraxia Wines and their art-filled Overberg chapel of a wine lounge.
*Pro Tip: Superstitious wine enthusiasts should stay well away from Spookfontein Vineyards. According to legend, you can see a ghost in the streaming waters of its natural spring; thus the name: “Ghost Fountain.”
Marlborough, New Zealand
A flight into the regional Blenheim Airport will land you squarely into the heart of Marlborough Wine country, whose distinctive pungency and zesty fruit flavors are captured perfectly in the region’s New York Times-approved sauvignon blancs — known for their singular, robust aroma and distinct notes of gooseberry and capsicum.
Roughly 2/3 of the country’s 20,000ha of vines are under the care of local wine producers, so you have to go in knowing you’re not going to see (/drink) them all. If, however, you find yourself at any of these locations, your taste buds will thank you: Villa Maria, on the valley floor; No. 1 Family Estate, where the bubbly Frenchman Daniel Le Brun has been making sparkling wines for two decades; or Yealands Estate Winery, whose white road self-driving tour through the estate is well worth the taking.
*Pro Tip: Sunday morning, wake up (reasonably) early and visit the Marlborough Farmers’ Market to get your hands on some incredible local produce. Your wine-soaked stomach will be grateful.
Sta. Rita Hills, California
This windswept, foggy western edge of the Santa Ynez Valley, once considered seemingly inhospitable, is now celebrated for its sea breeze-funneling mountain ranges and blanketing fog, which let even the hottest of sunny California days slip into cool summertime nights — cooler than both Carneros in Napa, and the Russian River in Sonoma! — and help alchemize the plush, extravagant pinot noirs and chardonnays the appellation is famous for (our favorites include Melville Winery, Sea Smoke, and Lutum).
Some of the region’s wineries aren’t always open to visitors seven days a week, but if you find yourself longing for something special try heading over to the Taste of Sta. Rita Hills. Run by owners Antonio and Jeni Moretti, this tasting room is one of the most entertaining, and useful, spots in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, as it features a rotating selection of bottles from local winemakers that don’t normally pour for the public.
*Pro Tip: The 2004 Academy Award-winning film Sideways tells the story of two middle-aged men and the women they meet on a week-long wine tasting adventure in the Sta. Rita Hills. Cinephiles eager to follow their path can find all the info they need right here.
To learn more about how Aircraft Services Group can help serve your private aviation needs, feel free to reach out to us at via the contact form at the bottom of this page.
Until then, safe travels!