This California Winery Has its Own Airport That Visitors Can Actually Fly Into

Visitors to Halter Ranch, nestled in California's Paso Robles wine region, can fly directly into the winery — yes, really.

Forget the group van or even the private limo — visitors to Halter Ranch can experience a different way to arrive in style.

Aviation enthusiasts and wine lovers alike can enjoy an extraordinary experience in Paso Robles wine country, in the Central Coast region of California, at Halter Ranch vineyard, as it offers a private airport for licensed pilots and their wine-loving friends.

A small airplane flying over Halter Ranch

Robin Osgood/Courtesy of Halter Ranch

“Halter Ranch is unlike any other place. Whether you are flying into the historic airstrip or driving across the iconic Covered Bridge, you’re struck by the beauty of the west side of Paso Robles and Halter Ranch’s place within it,” Gracie Nino, the marketing manager for Halter Ranch, shared with Travel + Leisure. “The wines, the culinary experience, the hospitality, and the estate itself are magic. And knowing that it is all done sustainably, ethically, and organically makes the experience all that much better.”

A small airplane taking off from Halter Ranch

Courtesy of Halter Ranch

Although this opportunity to fly in is just for personal private planes (Halter Ranch does not provide the aircraft or pilot), anyone with the means and the desire can arrive at the officially licensed Halter Ranch Airport (registered with the FAA as 89CA). The experience is open to wine club members — or those interested in becoming wine club members — to fly in for lunch and some wine shopping. 

The airport's story starts in 1943 when J.F. MacGillivray bought this piece of land in the Adelaida district of Paso Robles and named it MacGillivray Ranch. Over time, the ranch became such a sought-after destination to visit that the MacGillivrays had to make it more accessible for their guests to reach — and in 1967, with the help of the community, the MacGillivray family built a small airstrip on the property to host both the arrival of guests and community events. 

The MacGillivray Ranch events were so popular that news of the festivities eventually reached Governor Ronald Reagan, who, on June 14, 1970, hosted a raucous party at the ranch to announce his reelection campaign for the Governor of California (and flew in on his personal in his Aero Commander no less). But as time went on, flying into the ranch lost its popularity and, in the 1980s, almost completely halted.  

But in 2000, when the ranch was purchased and renamed, the airstrip saw frequent use for daily vineyard and farm traffic. The airstrip's official restoration began in 2020, and in late 2021, the airstrip was officially certified once again.

Today, wine club members can fly in and enjoy the destination's amenities with three days notice to the winery's airport team. Pilots and their passengers just need to sign an indemnity form and provide a copy of their insurance certificate. 

But those interested in trying out this exciting experience should be forewarned that the airstrip is not built for beginners because it's very narrow: The runway is just 3,300 feet long and 25 feet wide. 

A woman walking to board a small airplane at Halter Ranch

Robin Osgood/Courtesy of Halter Ranch

But all the logistical details are worth it, as the flight in is absolutely stunning. Pilots and passengers can soak in the beauty of the Adelaida District and the vineyards of Paso Robles on the approach — in addition to views of the ocean off the coast, near San Simeon. 

And, over the summer, Halter Ranch rolled out an exciting new overnight stay opportunity for those who fly in, called "The Pilot Accommodations." Instead of flying in, eating, and taking some wine to go, visitors will be able to spend the night on-site at the ranch and enjoy the wine just a little longer in one of two studio cottages, which can each comfortably sleep two guests. The cottages also have fully equipped kitchens and access to the vineyard’s pool for a refreshing dip. Those interested simply need to add the overnight request to their landing request form on the ranch’s website. 

Accommodations start at $350 for a weeknight and $400 for a weekend night. The rooms sleep two and come with a full kitchen. The best part? They're within walking distance of the tasting room and the runway.

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