Here’s the bottom line: leave San Diego International Airport (SAN) at 9:45am and land at Sonoma County Airport (STS) in time to lunch in wine country. Yes, it’s now possible.
I won’t be offended if you leave now to go book your flights. We’re going in January.
Fly Alaska Airlines Direct From SAN To STS
Alaska Airlines now offers San Diegans a direct flight to Sonoma, 7 days per week, with a scheduled flight time of about two hours. You’re in the air for less than that, however. Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air is member of the oneworld Alliance which means that American Airlines AAdvantage members can earn miles and use elite status benefits on this flight to Sonoma. Here is the current schedule:
Land At Charles M. Schulz Airport
I’m told that from landing to vineyard is about an hour. Rental cars are necessary and plenty are available at the airport.
Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, worked and lived in Sonoma for over 30 years. The airport’s logo features Snoopy flying his dog house and the Peanuts gang can be seen all over the airport, too. We haven’t yet flown into the airport, but I’m told by many friends in the wine industry that arriving and departing is a very low-stress process. We also find arriving and departing San Diego International Airport a relatively low-stress experience too so it sounds like win-win.
What If I Want To Bring Wine Home?
Here’s a bonus. Alaska Airlines allows EACH passenger departing Sonoma to bring home 12 bottles FREE as checked baggage.
Local wineries sell packaging for shipping or checking wine. For single bottles of wine, Wine Skins (leak-proof packaging) are available at terminal vending machines, shops and local wineries. There is no limit to the amount of alcohol you check as baggage (it can’t fly carry-on) but read the restrictions on alcohol by volume and more just in case.
Where Should I Go After Arriving In Sonoma?
Visit the Wine Road and download a map. Their experts can also help you craft the perfect itinerary. I had the pleasure of meeting member Wine Road vineyards including Silver Oak, Inman Family Wines and Robert Young Estate Winery after they all took (and raved about the ease) the STS-SAN flight down to San Diego. Yes, they brought wine with them and it was all delicious.
I can’t wait to go. Do you have a favorite Sonoma winery?
*Photos courtesy of The Wine Road