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Washington Wine Country Taste and Tote: New Program Increases Ease and Affordability of Area Travel

Tourism Walla Walla, Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau, Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau, and Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance announce the launch of a new collaborative effort with Alaska Airlines and Enterprise Rent-A-Car to promote Washington Wine Country. Launching September 2012, Washington Wine Country “Taste and Tote” will make it easier and more affordable to taste and travel the Yakima Valley, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla Valley wine regions.

As part of this new partnership, Alaska Airlines will expand its existing wine check-in program “Taste and Tote” to the Yakima and Pasco/Tri-Cities airports. Originating in the Walla Walla Valley in late 2011, this program allows outbound passengers to check their first case of wine free on their return flight. In addition, Enterprise Rent-A-Car will waive car drop-off fees for visitors flying on Alaska Airlines into Yakima, Pasco or Walla Walla regional airports who wish to fly out of one of the other two airports.

“The ‘Taste and Tote’ program has been a big success in Walla Walla and we feel our expansion to the Pasco and Yakima airports shows our dedication to being Washington Wine Country’s airline of choice,” said Clint Ostler, Alaska Airlines’ manager of retail advertising and sponsorships. “Washington State’s tourism and wine industries are so closely connected and we are committed to making it easier for travelers to visit our award-winning vineyards.”

Other features of the new program will allow travelers to sample wines at participating wineries and pay no tasting fees when they show a current Alaska Airlines boarding pass from one of the three airports.

“This is a great partnership for everyone involved, especially our visitors," said Duane Wollmuth of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. "This program gives travelers the opportunity to spend an extended vacation in Washington Wine Country and not pay extra during their stay, either in car rental, airline baggage or wine tasting fees."

The majority of visitors to Walla Walla Valley, Tri-Cities region and Yakima Valley wineries come from the Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas. Organizers hope that with these added incentives, visitors from these destinations and others served by Alaska Airlines will utilize air service for their trip to Washington Wine Country. Additional details on the Taste and Tote promotion are available at www.tasteandtote.com.