Paso Robles News|Thursday, May 23, 2019
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Go wine tasting by helicopter 

Take a flying tour of the wine region

Paso Air Tours, Villa San Juliette, Paso Robles wine region

The Paso Air Tours helicopter sets down on the picturesque grounds of Villa San Juliette Winery during a tour of the Paso Robles wine region on a recent sunny afternoon.

Sinton Helicopters has long been known for its small town hospitality with a standard for courteous service. Now, thanks to the vision of Scott and Shera Sinton, locals and visitors alike now have the opportunity to take in a scenic tour of the diverse California Central Coast and the abundant Paso Robles wine region aboard a fully equipped, state of the art helicopter captained by a licensed, trained and experienced pilot with Paso Air Tours.

Offering custom tailored tours, the friendly staff of Paso Air Tours takes guests over local vineyards and the surrounding Central Coast as they take in the picturesque scenery that is unable to be viewed from the road. With tours ranging from half-hour rides to options that include wine tasting and lunch at selected wineries, an outing with Paso Air Tours is an unforgettable experience.

When Scott offered to take me on a tour, I jumped at the chance. I gathered my husband, Ron, and coworker, Alex, and headed out to the J. Dusi Vineyards tasting room off Highway 46 West. Approaching the parking lot, we looked overhead as Scott circled the sky before he landed his bright yellow helicopter just to the north of the vineyard.

Scott and Shera Sinton are pictured with Ali Dusi (right) outside the J. Dusi Vineyards tasting room prior to leaving for a Paso Air Tour of local wineries. Photos by Meagan Friberg.

Scott and Shera Sinton are pictured with Ali Dusi (right) outside the J. Dusi Vineyards tasting room prior to leaving for a Paso Air Tour of local wineries. Photos by Meagan Friberg.

A gracious host, Scott shook our hands and introduced us to Shera, who accompanied us on our wine country tour, and tasting room manager Ali Dusi. After going over a checklist of safety guidelines, we buckled up, donned our headsets, waved goodbye to Ali, and were soon on our way for an afternoon of high-flying adventure.

Growing up in the area, Scott and Shera have witnessed the ever-changing landscape with the growth of the wine industry. With an abundant offering of music, food and wine venues along the Central Coast, they decided it was time to take their business to the next level and offer unique tours aboard their helicopters.

“I always had an idea to do wine tours,” Scott said, “and when the Dusi’s opened their tasting room and offered us a landing area, it really kicked us into gear. We will do this at other wineries, as long as they have the space for us to take off and land.”

Sinton Helicopters has a full line of helicopters that are used for fire fighting, forestry, helitorching, cropdusting, air lifting, charter, geographical survey, helicopter skiing, and more. With vast knowledge and combined experience, Sinton pilots have been working at the state and federal levels for years.

“We have special licensing that allows us to be an on-demand charter,” Scott said. “That’s unique to this area. All of our pilots have undergone certification, have vast experience and we are fully insured.”

As we flew over the region, we took in the sites that only a sky tour can provide. With a wine tasting scheduled at Villa San Juliette, Scott explained a bit of the history of the region as he flew us over various vineyards – Calcareous, Law Estates, Peachy Canyon, Daou – and past Halter Ranch.

“It’s all about the experience,” Shera said. “Taking a helicopter ride or tour is, for some, this once-in-a-lifetime thrill. It’s great for special occasions – an anniversary, a marriage proposal, a birthday – and it’s definitely something different.”

That’s an understatement.

Taking a tour of the Central Coast aboard a helicopter was unlike any ride along the roads of the area, and we travel those daily.

As we approached Villa San Juliette, Scott circled the property so we could take a few aerial photos. Our greeting party – staff from the winery and tasting room – waved us in and met us as we landed. After a tour of the grounds, including a look behind-the-scenes, we settled on the comfy sofas on the front patio and enjoyed some snacks and a personalized wine tasting with winemaker Matt Ortman.

Scott and Shera Sinton, Paso Air Tours

Scott & Shera Sinton have witnessed the ever-changing landscape of the wine industry & started Paso Air Tours as a new twist to the wine tour and tasting experience.

“With the growth of the wine industry in the area, we aim to provide another option to the experience,” Scott said, explaining that after spending years in the helicopter business, he is enjoying his new venture. “We know the area, we give a bit of the history as we fly, and we provide a fun, safe adventure for our guests. Our helicopter tours of the wine region are truly unique and exciting.”

We say our goodbyes to Ortman and the gracious staff at Villa San Juliette, board the helicopter for our return flight to Dusi and, knowing our adventure is about to end, we sit back and enjoy the view as Scott flies us over the breathtaking landscape of this scenic wine country landscape. Fun, unique, exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience – yes, our tour was all that and then some.

Options for helicopter winery tours include half hour and hour rides – additional, customized tours and packages are available. Check out pasoairtours.com. Contact Shera Sinton, charter coordinator, at (805) 215-6236 for more information.

Author Meagan Friberg is a writer and editor of the Paso Robles Daily News and SLO Visitor’s Guide. The new edition of SLO Visitor’s Guide magazine is now available at locations throughout SLO County and online at slovisitorsguide.com

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About the author: Reporter Meagan Friberg

Meagan Friberg is a reporter for the Paso Robles Daily News and A-Town Daily News.