I will leave my manhood at the door and let you know that I was actually quite nervous stepping on to a helicopter for the first time a couple of weeks back. On the flip side, being invited to come do the twenty-ish minute ride over the rolling hills of west side Paso Robles was so intriguing to me that the nervousness was going to have to take a back seat.
We went over to J. Dusi Winery on Hwy 46 West, which is one of the wineries they have an okay to fly in and out of, to meet Shera and Scott Sinton of Paso Air Tours. Their idea is to literally take wine tasting in Paso Robles to new heights. Sure you can drive your car, rent a limo, or even one of the many vans in the area to go on a wine tasting tour but imagine the looks you’ll get when you show up at a winery in a helicopter.
It was great chatting with Shera about their vision for the air tours while we sipped a little J. Dusi wine. You can’t sit at a tasting room waiting for your turn in the helicopter without indulging, right? I thought it was especially cool that Janelle Dusi hung out and chatted and then ended up on the ride with us. Prior to lift off, Scott gave us the rundown on the helicopter itself as well as safety precautions. It was about this time that my hands got clammy and I was in hurry to get in and go so I didn’t chicken out.
I was absolutely blown away with the perspective. Being able to see Paso’s famed vineyards from above is breathtaking. We flew over wineries like Halter Ranch, Daou, Law Estate, Rangeland, and Adelaida. Between pilot, Scott Sinton, and fellow passenger, Kelly Bobbitt (the man behind mapping out the new AVA stuff here in Paso), the trip was very well narrated. In fact, Kelly had an iPad with an app that tracked where we were on a map which made it even easier to tell us where we were and what AVA we were in (I know the new AVA’s aren’t official quite yet).
You’ll see from the photos and videos below what I’m talking about as far as the beauty and perspective. There’s just nothing like it. I would encourage everyone to do this at least once in your life. Some may say it’s pricy and they’re right, it’s more than driving yourself or renting a limo but it’s not nearly as bad as you might think. Their website mentions a 30 minute wine tour that would cost $575 to $800 and a one hour wine and waves tour that would range from $1,150 to $1,600. The price depends on the size of the helicopter and both tours say they are for up to four people.
A side note…I REALLY want to do the wine and waves thing. What could be better than cruising over our majestic coastline and sipping some wine?
So yes indeed it costs more than a limo but if you split it between four people that makes it more reasonable. More importantly the memories and photos you’ll walk away with are a “once in a lifetime” type thing. The Sinton’s provide a top notch experience…great customer service, lots of information, and in the end I felt safe the entire time. I will definitely do this again at some point.
An additional side note…if you read our blog regularly you know I love Paso Robles. This helicopter ride gave me a new appreciation of what this area is, not only its beauty but what this land provides us. While on the ride I thought about the history of this area, the current water issues we are dealing with, and the secrets this amazing area hides from us when we are down on the ground. Secrets revealed on a helicopter ride. Being able to see Paso Robles beyond where the road ends. Truly spectacular and for that I want to thank Shera and Scott for inviting us to do this. I also want to thank the entire Dusi Winery crew…sure they have great wine but it’s an incredibly fun group of people and as I always say, it’s all about the people.
Slideshow of pics: