These days it can be a struggle to finagle so much as a free pack of peanuts from an airline, which makes it all the more incredible that Oregon wines fly free on outbound Alaska Airlines flights. Members of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can check a case of wine (six or 12 bottles) at no cost on any flight departing from Portland and other Northwest cities. Passengers are free to mix and match their wines—and considering the state’s 17 winegrowing regions, 72 grape varieties and more than 500 wineries, the combinations are endlessly delicious.
Sampling all those pours just got easier, too: Visitors enjoy complimentary tastings from any of 300 participating tasting rooms by showing their in-bound boarding passes and proof of mileage plan membership. Here are a few tips on where to start sipping.
Southeast Wine Collective
Southeast Wine Collective houses nine urban wineries in one chic space just off S.E. Division Street, one of the city’s hottest dining destinations. The intimate tasting bar offers a long list of artisan wines by the taste, glass, flight, tap pour and bottle, as well as a tasty assortment of small bites and salads. With your appetite whetted, stroll down the block to Pok Pok, Salt & Straw or Ava Gene’s, three of the city’s nationally celebrated eateries.
Sokol Blosser Winery
One of Oregon’s oldest vineyards, Sokol Blosser Winery has been crafting award-grabbing pinot noir in the Dundee Hills since 1971. The tasting room comprises several alluring spaces, from an intimate farm table setting to a sun-soaked terrace with stunning views.
Elk Cove Vineyards
Located west of Portland in rural Gaston, Elk Cove features five distinct vineyards and a gorgeous tasting room with knockout views of the Coast Range Mountains. The winery offers an impressive variety of wines and prides itself on its Alsacian-style, steel-fermented white wines and its Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Ponzi Vineyards, just 20 minutes southwest of Portland in Sherwood, is internationally recognized for its pinots, chardonnay, white riesling and rare Italian varietals. Ponzi’s modern tasting room features fireside seating, tableside service, a covered terrace and a relaxed vibe. Don’t miss the outdoor bocce ball courts.