Oregon wines keep flying free on Alaska Airlines

By on April 8, 2015
Domaine Drouhin Vineyard in the Dundee Hills ranks as one of the wine country destinations in Oregon.

Domaine Drouhin Vineyard in the Dundee Hills ranks as one of the top wine country destinations in Oregon. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

PORTLAND, Ore. — What started as a three-month pilot program in 2013 to promote Oregon wines will keep flying high aboard Alaska Airlines for at least three more years.

oregon-wines-fly-freeMembers of Alaska Airlines’ frequent flier program will continue to receive the perk of free checking for one case of Oregon wine. Last week, the Oregon Wine Board announced that the Oregon Wines Fly Free program, launched Sept. 10, 2013, has been extended through 2017.

“The Oregon Wines Fly Free program with Alaska Airlines has been a wonderful endeavor that has alleviated some of the challenges consumers face when transporting wine acquired while visiting Oregon,” Ellen Brittan, chairwoman of the Oregon Wine Board, said in a news release. ““Almost 5,000 cases of Oregon wines have been checked for free since the program started, and we suspect this number will grow tremendously with the program’s extension.”

More than 300 wineries are involved in the program, a collaboration that includes Travel Oregon, promotes the Oregon wine industry by allowing visitors flying from Oregon on Alaska Airlines to check a case of Oregon wine for free.

The Oregon Wines Fly Free program allows Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members to check one case of wine at no cost on their return flight departing from Portland, Eugene, Medford and Redmond as well as Walla Walla, Wash.

Visitors to Oregon receive free tastings with Alaska Air boarding pass

The signpost at Abacela in Roseburg, Ore., gives visitors an indication how far away from home they are. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

The signpost at Abacela in Roseburg, Ore., gives visitors an indication how far away from home they are. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Inbound visitors also qualify for free tastings at participating wineries by presenting their Alaska Airlines boarding passes within a week of arrival. Membership in Alaska Airlines’ frequent flier program is free.

“Oregon’s distinct appellations have earned a place among the country’s premier wine regions, and we are fortunate to work with some fantastic partners in the Oregon Wine Board and Alaska Airlines to make our growers and producers more accessible,” said Todd Davidson, Travel Oregon CEO. “With the extension of the Oregon Wines Fly Free Program, travelers have the opportunity to build collections of Oregon wines to share and enjoy, reliving their Oregon vacation experience from the comfort of their homes.”

This summer, Alaska Airlines will serve as an official partner of the Sept. 17-20 food and drink festival called Feast Portland.

“Our customers love to explore new things, from the places we serve to the foods they eat and the wines they sip,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing. “There’s something so exciting about the discovery of a great new wine, and we’re thrilled to make those discoveries even easier for our customers.”

The Oregon wine industry contributes more than $3.3 billion in economic activity to the state economy each year, including more than 17,000 wine-related jobs and $527 million in wages. Travel Oregon reports that tourism in the state is a $9.6 billion industry that generates about 94,000 jobs.

Alaska Airlines operates about 120 flights each day from Portland, more than any other carrier, and offers 40 flights to 13 cities in California.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

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