Napa Tours – To See Napa in a New Way, Take a Balloon!

If you are interested in Napa Tours, you won’t lack things to see, do, and taste. Napa Valley’s legendary wine industry and tourism is partly the result of encouraging visitors to explore the Wine Country in a variety of ways. With the choices available, many tourists have options regarding getting around and transportation around the area.

Many of the tourists arrive by car, and drive it to go to wherever they wish. They may have an itinerary or just go by their own. When you don’t have a car but want to drive in and around the vineyards and the valleys, you may rent one.

But even if you have a car, you may also want some other ways to explore Napa Valley. You may leave your car parked and explore Napa Valley by other means. Take advantage of the biking tours by renting a bike and going on guided tour. Or you can cycle amongst and around the vineyards on your own. There are many lodgings that also offer bicycle rentals. This activity is not only environmentally friendly and allows for some exercise, it will also further enhance your visiting experience in the Napa Valley.

Public transportation is, of course, available in the Napa Valley, including the city of Napa and between the valley’s main towns. The most common option is taking a bus. There is a fixed-route bus system in Napa country called VINE. The fleet of buses can take you to downtown Napa where you can wine and dine, shop, and enjoy. The buses will also take you to the ferry, El Cerrito Norte BART station, as well as Sonoma County and Suisun City Train Depot, depending on the routes.

If you want to explore the Wine Country in style, hop on the Napa Valley Wine Train, a magnificently-restored 19th century vintage train which also serves as a mobile restaurant. Taste the best authentic regional cuisine and experience the glory days of train travel as you go through the Napa Valley up to St. Helena.

If you want to experience Napa Valley in a whole new way we recommend that you should take a hot air balloon. And why not? You’re flying (almost) like a bird, and seeing the beauty of the hills, valleys, the well-manicured vineyards, and the overall natural beauty of the Napa Valley that greets the glow of the morning sun.

And the great thing about flying in a hot air balloon — provided that the weather is calm, the winds are stable, and the skies are clear. As long as these conditions are good you can take it in any season. See the green vineyards, hills and valleys in the summer and an explosion of green and golden colors in the fall. If you visit during the winter or spring you’ll see a blanket of yellow wild mustard blooms and emerald green hills. And you will see all of them from a bird’s-eye view! As soon as you get in the basket and you’ll be lifted, the experience will be sensational, and it can’t quite be matched by any other activity. And even if you want to fly the hot air balloon again, the experience will always be fresh, new, and exciting!

You have many options which operator you choose, but you’ll have the best choice if you take your balloon ride with Balloons Above the Valley (BATV), a pioneer in hot air balloon rides in Napa Valley. At BATV, guests are never short of a wonderful experience both on and off the Napa Valley grounds. Where can you find an operator that provides pre-flight breakfasts and post-flight brunches, winery tours, picnic-style lunches, limousine rides, and not to mention the magnificent sunrise hot air balloon flights? No one but Balloons Above the Valley offers all of these things. BATV has been operating for four decades and is still flying above its competitors.

If you want to get the most out of your Napa tours, ride a hot air balloon for the ultimate adventure, style, and luxury when you visit Napa Valley.

Fun Things to Do in Napa During February

Time is moving quite fast in the New Year, and February is fast approaching. Have you thought of fun things to do in Napa next month? If you are planning to stay in the Napa Valley, there are several fun February activities in the Wine Country lined up for you.

We know that February is the love month; many companies in Napa will have Valentine promos for the couples. Consider enjoying fancy candlelight dinners, staying in exclusive hotels, or having a relaxing massage and spa together.

But apart from romance, let’s not also forget the fun factor, especially when Super Bowl 50 is in the offing (February 7). So expect football fans to come out in droves, traffic to be heavy, and lots of NFL/Super Bowl-related fun activities to encounter. Before the big game itself, let the excitement cool down a bit (or even get fired up further) by participating in the Napa Valley Wine Train’s “The Big Game Train.” Taste award-winning wines crafted by none other your favorite NFL stars! Jump at this one-of-a-kind and rare chance especially if you’re an NFL fan.

If you cannot go to the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara to watch the big game live on February 7, you may still be able to catch live updates at the Super Bowl Sunday Tailgate at The Meritage Resort and Spa. Not only you are able to listen to pre-game assessments while sipping wine, you can also to listen to them live, too. Announcers from the 95.7 The Game radio station will do their broadcasting right at the Crush Ultra Lounge itself, and it’s guaranteed that you won’t miss anything!

You’ll still be able to find other fun things to do in Napa outside the Super Bowl excitement. The Oxbow Public Market, a market in downtown Napa known for its gourmet and artisanal local fares and produce, will host “Cooking with Julie” on February 2, 5 and 9. Julie offers up-close-and-personal tours of the market as well as cooking classes, a three-course lunch, and more. Since the number of guests allowable is limited, you’ll want to sign up for enlightening foodie moments with Chef Julie while it’s still early.

A lot of people say that springtime is the best time to explore the natural beauty of Napa. In February, the wine country reveals in gorgeous, breathtaking colors not found in other seasons. The vivid yellows of the wild mustard flowers proliferate the dormant vineyards, and are backed by the gorgeously verdant hills. Sycamore and Poplar trees remain green throughout, and the scenery is picture-perfect…surely it is an ideal inspiration for painters and photographers alike.

Want to see the beauty of the Napa in springtime from the sky, and at the same time get away from the fuss of Super Bowl for a while? Try flying in a hot air balloon; we’re sure you’re going to love it! Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) guarantees a one-of-a-kind thrill and the chance to view the expanse of the gorgeous Napa Valley as the sun rises from the horizon. Our pilots are experienced and well-versed about the weather so rest assured you’ll be totally safe in their hands. Wake up to pre-flight breakfasts and enjoy post-flight champagne brunches with your fellow guests. Not only that, we also offer limousine service from downtown San Francisco to the Wine Country, on-ground wine tours in Napa and Sonoma, picnic-style lunches, options for shopping (right after the post-flight champagne brunch) and lots more! You have to look at our amazing hot air balloon/wine tour packages to see which of them will suit you (and your budget): http://www.balloonrides.com/tour-options-pricing-reservations/

February is not just a time for romance, but it is also a time to look forward to fun things to do in Napa Valley!

Adventurous Family? Try These Things to Do in San Francisco

Any family with a knack for adventure and fun should definitely check out things to do in San Francisco. This Californian city is famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, heterogeneous and cosmopolitan community and lifestyle — and countless tourist destinations! There are plenty of activities and places to see and enjoy within the city and its outskirts. Plan for a weekend (or if possible, a week off) to see and experience the sights, sounds, tastes, and sensations that San Francisco brings.

Vacationing with the whole family won’t be complete without going to the zoo and the public aquarium. One of the most recommended family-friendly places is the Aquarium of the Bay, a public aquarium at the edge of Pier 39 which entertains and also educates the family about marine life. Marvel at the sights of more than 100 species of fish as well as different types of sharks, huge octopus, rays, and starfish. Children as well as adults will have their breaths taken away by these forms of marine life right in front of their own eyes.

Want to see more marine life? Every summer whales pay a visit to the seas near San Francisco shores. Any adventurous family will want to go whale watching, and the best place is somewhere 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco, the Farallon Islands. This group of islands is protected by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and thus has recently been groomed as a sanctuary/eco-tourist spot. Families who love the sea and marine life will witness the beautiful blue waters and the migrating gray and humpback whales.

Taking your whole family to the Napa Valley might sound off at first. When you hear “Napa Valley,” it doesn’t immediately conjure images of being a family-friendly place. You may think of it mostly for adults tasting and sipping wines, swinging clubs at golf courses, and being scantily dressed in massage rooms and spas. But the truth is, the Napa Valley also welcomes families just like any other tourist destination on the planet. So taking your whole family to the wine country is not a crazy idea at all.

In fact, it has lots of adventure awaiting you and the kids. Napa Valley also has family-friendly camping destinations, and nature-tripping is not to be missed. The Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is highly recommended; you can hike, camp, picnic, and do swimming in the pool, fed by the springs. There are also yurts (tent lodgings) available throughout the year.

Craving for some action? How about helicopter wine tours? Yes please! There are several operators in Napa who offer private and exclusive tours that can also be specially catered according to the guests’ preferences. Most of the helicopter tour operators also have itineraries so no need to feel lost! Be picked up at the airport and ride one of their fleet of helicopters, which will then guide you to various residences, resorts, and wineries. You’ll all be feeling like an action star or a surveyor doing a high-risk job.

But the ultimate family adventure is flying on a hot air balloon! There is nothing like it: up in the sky and looking over the gorgeous landscape, with neat, manicured rows of grapevines, rolling hills and valleys that greet the warmth and the light of the rising sun. If your kids are as adventurous as you are, then you may have no problem convincing them to go on a hot air balloon ride! They will feel like a centuries-old explorer surveying the vast expanse of land from up in the air. Unlike a helicopter, a hot air balloon doesn’t produce any distracting noises since it just floats in the air. You can expect quietness and peacefulness. A feeling of serenity and a relaxed mood will take away the stress from all the touring on the ground, even if only for a while.

And this is something you’d definitely look forward too! Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) offers hot air balloon and wine tours for families! Enjoy a fresh and hot breakfast before the whole family sets off to an exciting airborne adventure. And after that wonderful hot air balloon sunrise flight, enjoy a post-flight brunch where adults enjoy sparkling wine and kids enjoy juices.

Children who are 6 and over and who measure at least 48 inches are allowed in the hot air balloon basket as one of the flying party. You don’t have to worry because BATV’s pilots are experienced and will make your flight safe and enjoyable. Balloons Above the Valley’s 40 years in the business is a hallmark that it puts safety and satisfaction of the guests as the top priority.

There are lots of things to do in San Francisco that will cater to every adventure- and fun-seeking family. Include flying on a hot air balloon as part of your list for a more worthwhile family getaway!

Napa Wine Tour Packages and a Hot Air Balloon Ride, Too!

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is an operator who has been providing hot air balloon tours to visitors over the gorgeous landscape of the Californian wine country (the Napa Valley in particular). After 40 years BATV is still out flying competitors — and our hot air balloon flights as well as Napa wine tour packages are what our guests rave about.

For people who love wine, travel and adventure, you’ve come to the right place! Why not book a wine tour package with us?

BATV offers several hot air balloon and wine tour packages. But the two-day San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package is specifically created for tourists who want to visit the Wine Country all the way from downtown San Francisco. Visit two to four wineries in Napa and Sonoma as well as fly on a hot air balloon at sunrise. Learn about BATV’s this specific wine tour package and why it’s considered as special:

Day One:
BATV’s transportation partner, the Napa Wine Country Tours will pick you and the other guests up from three points, with their respective appointment hours: 4th at Mission – between corner and St. Patrick’s (8:10 am), Union Square – across from Macy’s (8:20 am), Pier 39, in front of Hard Rock Cafe (8:40 am). Napa Wine Country Tours’ fleet of limousines will transport you to the Wine Country.

Once in the limousine, you and the other guests will enjoy breakfast — bagels, cream cheese, croissants, fresh fruits and “mimosa” (cocktail that consists of equal parts champagne and orange juice). The chauffeur will stop at a vista point overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, where you will have the chance to take photos.

Your experienced and knowledgeable chauffeur will introduce you to several points of interest as he takes you through the Wine Country. Visit two wineries in Napa and two in Sonoma, and discover the differences in their house wines as you tour from one winery to the next. A wine tasting is, of course, also included. Who knows, you may even pick an immediate favorite right off the wineries! You will be led to the Olive Press too, to have an olive-oil tasting.

A picnic lunch follows the wine tour. After that, you will be transported back to the hotel of your choice (hotel fees are not included).

Day Two

The day that you are waiting for — the hot air balloon ride! But before leaving for the hot air balloon site, have breakfast first! With freshly-baked pastries and freshly brewed Starbucks coffee, you will have your senses awakened.

At the break of dawn, you’ll be picked up and be driven to the site where hot air balloons are still inflating. You’ll be amazed at the difficulty of work the crew takes to make the hot air balloon rise! As the balloon is blown and stands erect, then it’s time to hop into the basket! This is where adventure really starts…

The Napa Valley will be gradually shown under light from the rising sun. As the light slowly looms, you will now be able to see the well-manicured rows of verdant vineyards, valleys and rolling hills. As you gently float over the gorgeous landscape of the valley, you will also feel a sense of otherworldly serenity as you also greet the sunrise. Don’t forget to take pictures of the picturesque beauty!

The flight is wonderful that you wish that all good things didn’t have to come to an end, but it should. But wait… the fun continues as you celebrate a successful flight along with other guests with a post-flight brunch! Fresh and seasonal food, sparkling wine, happy guests — it is almost perfect!

You’d think that the post-flight brunch is the end of a wonderful day? Not yet! If you want to sightsee or shop our chauffeur will drop you off either to Oxbow Public Market or the Napa Valley Premium Outlets. Then, you will be taken to Ferry Terminal in Vallejo, California where you’ll take a ferry ride back to San Francisco.

Otherwise, if you want to go back to San Francisco right after the brunch, then you will be transported by a ferry back to the city. You will be provided with free ferry tickets whether you’ll be shopping first before going back to San Francisco or sail back to the city right away after the brunch.

With Balloons Above the Valley, you will get more than just the breathtaking hot air balloon rides. If you want to include flying in a hot air balloon over the valley, pick us and we’ll provide you the best among the other Napa wine tour packages ever.

Honeymoon in Napa Valley on a Budget

Napa Valley is everybody’s idea of luxury, but what you don’t know is that everything luxurious there doesn’t necessarily have to be so expensive. That’s good news for couples who wish to have their honeymoon in Napa Valley on a budget. Here are a few useful tips on how to score affordable deals while honeymooning in the Wine Country.

Plan to visit Napa Valley in the winter, where tourism activity is at its lowest. Hotels generally slash rates by as much as 40% to 50%. Hotels that are “untouchable” during the summer suddenly become affordable in the winter as lodgings are absolutely much cheaper in this season.

Many hotels offer packages to coincide with a specific season, so be on the lookout for them. For example, if you want to spend your honeymoon in the Napa Valley during Christmas, Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day — many of the packages include deluxe rooms (often with a king-size bed), a dinner for two, spa and/or Jacuzzi, and visits to the wineries. There are also honeymoon packages and special offers regardless of the season, so be on the lookout for them, too. Some of these special packages offer free rides on the Napa Valley Wine Train where you can have a romantic dinner on vintage wheels.

If camping and “roughing it” are your idea of honeymoon bliss, then you can save a considerable amount by skipping the pricey lodgings costs. You only have to bring your camping gear, or an RV if you have one, and stop at one of the popular camping sites in the Napa Valley. Many of them offer romantic scenery, and the best of all, they’re conveniently near valley’s most popular towns. Choose Chaparral Cove by Lake Berryessa where you can also swim, suntan (during the right season,, and do water sports. The Enchanted Hills Retreat has miles of hiking trails and a heated outdoor swimming pool. Skyline Wilderness Park is another option but it also offers equestrian trails for horseback riding

Flying in a hot air balloon will be the highlight of your honeymoon getaway in Napa. As you gently float above the ground below, you’ll meet the sunrise, and enjoy the lovely Napa Valley landscape below. Gently floating in blue morning skies, you will enjoy the lovely Napa Valley landscape, which is blanketed with the bright yellow blooms of the wild mustard taking over the sleeping vineyards. The emerald green rolling hills and valleys complete the picturesque scene, adding to the romantic atmosphere of your Napa Valley honeymoon.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is here to answer your questions about flying in a hot air balloon. Do you want an exclusive balloon ride and then a table just for the two of you after the flight? BATV offers exclusive hot air balloon flights as well as a private table for just the two of you at our post-flight brunch with delicious and seasonal food and sparkling wine. Before the flight, enjoy our breakfast that consists of freshly baked pastries and hot Starbucks coffee. Since the rates of our “Exclusive Flights” package vary, contact us to discuss the price and reservation details. You may reach us by calling our phone number 707-253-2222 or sending an email to info@balloonrides.com.

It is possible to save money when planning a honeymoon in Napa Valley. However, be sure to plan for a romantic, breathtaking sunrise hot air balloon flight with BATV.

Fun Things to Do in Napa Valley This Spring

Spring time may be the best time to have fun things to do in Napa Valley. Springtime generally begins in March on your calendar, but spring in the Napa Valley begins in February and lasts through May.

Although you may experience some rain showers in the spring as the weather changes, you may need not to worry as you can still enjoy your vacation in the Wine Country. Since wine tasting is done indoors, you may want to spend the rest of a rainy day inside a winery — the Castelo di Amorosa is a fine place to visit. A modern building designed in an authentic 13th-century Tuscan architecture, this massive castle/winery has real moats, a drawbridge, buttresses, keeps, defensive towers, and patios. It’s such a fun place to visit — being inside Castelo di Amorosa makes you feel like a king (or a queen) surveying the property. Visit their barrel cellars and tasting rooms where you can sample some of their wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and a couple of types of Pinot.

On a clear spring day, however, you can visit one winery then go to another (visits to two to three wineries a day are preferable). To take advantage of the spring, choose wineries that also offer the best vistas of the vineyards such as the Domaine Carneros, Sterling, Kuleto Estate, and Signorello Estate.

You may also want to wander among the brilliant yellow wild mustard blooms that overtake the seemingly barren vineyards. Take pictures of your surroundings or stylish selfies, if you prefer. If you take a closer look, you may also notice the new shoots — even miniature grape clusters — sprouting out of the dormant vines.

In order to get around the wineries and the vineyards, the best way to do it on the ground is cycling. It’s less tiring than exploring the Napa Valley on foot but also promotes exercise; plus, it’s environmentally friendly. Lease a bike from any bicycle rental location and you may go on guided tours or choose your own route to explore the roads less traveled. Several lodgings also offer bike rentals.

The chill from the winter has dissipated, which calls for more outdoor activity. Campers are going to have their field day again and they will find plenty of camping destinations in the Napa Valley. For families, the Bothe Napa Valley State Park offers lots of trails, yurts, swimming and grounds specifically meant for camping. Other excellent camping site options include the Skyline Wilderness Park, Enchanted Hills Retreat, and Napa Valley Expo RV Park.

Lake Berryessa is the biggest lake in Napa County. It also serves as a reservoir. Visitors can enjoy plenty of springtime activities on and beside the lake including swimming, fly-fishing, kayaking, and jet-skiing. Lakeside lodgings and cabins are also available.

Flying in a hot air balloon is also one of the fun things to do in Napa Valley this spring. It is absolutely spectacular and will enable you to see the beauty of Napa Valley like never before. The wild mustard blooms will now look like a vivid yellow blanket covering the dormant vineyards, against the emerald-green hills. These uniquely wonderful sights won’t be replicated by any other means but by riding a hot air balloon. View the lovely, picturesque springtime scenery and catch the sunrise at the same time while the hot air balloon floats thousands of feet off the ground.

Get this exhilarating airborne experience with Balloons Above the Valley (BATV), who has been providing hot air balloon rides to tourists for 40 years. We also have delicious, hot pre-flight breakfasts, a post-flight brunch with sparkling wine, optional shopping following the post-flight brunch, wine tours, picnic-style lunches, limousine service from downtown San Francisco to the Wine Country, and lots more!

BATV has won recognitions and recommendations such as the 2015 Certificate of Excellence and Hall of Fame awards from TripAdvisor. This is a testimony to how Balloons Above the Valley has given satisfaction for its clients since the day it started. Safe and fun flights have been the company’s utmost priority.

There are lots of fun things to do in Napa Valley while taking advantage of its warmer weather and uniquely beautiful landscape this springtime. Remember to include flying on a hot air balloon and choose Balloons Above the Valley for safe, enjoyable, and breathtaking flights over the Napa Valley.

First Time Visit Wine Tour San Francisco

Soon you will be experiencing your first wine tour in San Francisco, and you’re making a bucket list of the things you want to see and do. Of course, while you’re there you may want to view the Golden Gate Bridge, visit Alcatraz, ride the cable cars, try driving on zigzag Lombard Street, take a stroll in Union Square and Golden Gate Park, along with taking your first-ever winery tour.

Napa Valley is a world-famous wine region just a 90-minute drive north of downtown San Francisco. Not long after leaving the city you’ll be transported from the urban jungle to beautiful vineyards.

Unless you have planned places to go in the Napa Valley, most likely you won’t have any ideas on where to go, eat, stay and taste wines. Apart from making hotel reservations, the first thing you probably searched for on Google was “best Napa Valley wineries.” It might be a good start but once you’re faced with the number of search results you may be overwhelmed.

We can’t blame you, as there are over 400 wineries in the Napa Valley alone, and it’s not even the biggest wine country in the United States. Here are a few recommendations: Robert Mondavi, Sterling Vineyards, Castello di Amorosa (a modern-day castle but built in the 13th Tuscan architecture), Domaine Carneros, Signorello Estate, V. Sattui and Beringer are among the wineries that are popular with first-time visitors. Some of the wineries (like the Signorello Estate) are perched on the top of a hill, so you can enjoy the awesome vistas of the well-trimmed vineyards.

As for the restaurants, Napa Valley has many that have made the list of the best restaurants in the country. It is quite diverse and exciting. Find the most perfect pizza on earth at Ciccio, tapas at Modern Spanish Tavern, American comfort food at Ad Hoc, excellent Japanese cuisine at Morimoto, as well as topnotch artisanal fare at Oxbow Public Market. If you’re somewhat on a budget though, get the best value for your money by going to casual restaurants and food joints like Alexis Bakery, Ana’s Cantina, Napa Valley Grille, and Gott’s Roadside.

Similar to most tourist destinations, Napa Valley holds a lot of festivals, arts and culture and entertainment. So if you want to experience what diversion is like in the wine country, check out on what’s in store for the Napa Valley in 2016. You’ll find galleries and museums, food and culinary festivals, live music, theater, and health and wellness events. It’s up to you to pick which events you’d like to see, whether you’re an art or food lover.

You may have heard about the hot air balloons floating over the picturesque vineyards and valleys, and you may want to try them. Since it’s your first time, you want one that that is a perfectly safe, hassle-free, and awesome hot air balloon flight. When it comes to balloon flights, there’s no better choice than to take your flight with Balloons Above the Valley (BATV), the pioneer in hot air balloon flights over the Napa Valley.

Held during the sunrise, the gentle and stable winds will help the hot air balloons to rise and float thousands of feet off the ground. It’s understandable that you may feel nervous at first because it’s probably your first time flying in an open-air aircraft. But BATV’s pilots will take good care of you and the other guests. They will also inform and entertain you with some chit-chat about the interesting points of the Napa Valley as you float by. Enjoy viewing the neat rows of vineyards, rolling hills and valleys, and the blue skies that greet the glow of the sunrise.

Your initial fears will soon dissipate and will instead be replaced with thrill, wonder, and sense of adventure! You won’t see anything like this in when riding in other transportation available in the valley.

If you want to take advantage of the BATV’s services, we also have packages that include wine tours, picnic-style lunches, limousine services, optional shopping and so much more. All of our hot air balloon flight packages have pre-flight breakfasts and post-flight brunches with sparkling wine! Simply call 800-464-6824 if you would like more information or to see which one of our offers will appeal most to you.

Make sure to include hot air balloon rides with Balloons Above the Valley for a fun, adventurous, and eventful first time wine tour in San Francisco.

Best Time of the Year for Vacations in Napa Valley

The best time to have vacations in Napa Valley depends on the season you want to enjoy. People have their own preferences. The weather is typically mild and wineries are open year-round, even in the winter months, so you can visit the Wine Country in any season you deem fit.

Napa Valley is at the peak of tourism especially during the spring and summer months. February is truly the start of the spring season in Napa, and July is officially the beginning of the summer there. During the summer Napa Valley’s tourist numbers reach to their peak, so it’s not surprising that it has the most number of exciting festivals during the season such as food, music and art festivals. More people will be doing outdoor activities such as swimming at pools of resorts, or participating in exciting water sports on Lake Berryessa. Hues of green proliferate in the vineyards, the valleys and the hills.

Hotels and lodgings, wineries and restaurants will be filled with tourists — and this could be a problem unless you’ve already booked a reservation or scheduled a winery visit ahead of time. Hotel operators may also take advantage of the tourism peak by raising their rates. Too many crowds would also mean heavy traffic on the roads leading to Napa Valley.

So if you want to avoid the rush and exorbitant hotel rates, why not go in the winter instead? A lot of tourists have sworn that winter is the best time to visit the wine region. This normally occurs from December to January. Room rates are usually reduced during the lowest time of Napa’s tourism, from 40% down to 50%. Instead of the snowy encounter, winter in Napa Valley consists of sunny (but chilly) days and some rain showers. Winter season also means a more laid-back time to visit the wineries and tasting rooms, without the distracting crowds and noises. You have practically all the time and the vineyards to yourself. If it’s raining, it’s going to be a perfect excuse to enjoy sips of wine while snugly sitting by the fireplace.

Wintertime is when Napa boasts its most brilliant colors. Bright yellow wild mustard blooms overwhelm the dormant vineyards, and are backed by the vivid verdant hills. Who says wintertime in the Napa Valley is boring and listless? Certainly not anyone who has ever visited the area during winter!

Other people have said that fall (from September to November) is the perfect season to visit Napa Valley. It is the time when the grapes have fully ripened and are ready to be harvested, crushed and made into wines. A lot of festivals and events are related to the grape and fruit picking as well as grape stomping. These events encourage tourists to stomp the grapes in large wooden buckets and basins, and visitors are happy with the experience!

Many people swear that the Napa Valley is at its most beautiful during the fall. As the grapes ripen, the vineyards’ foliage changes colors from golden to fiery red, and the same goes for many trees. Most grasslands, hills and valleys remain green throughout the season but some of them turn into yellow.

Whatever seasons you choose, make sure to include hot air balloon flights as part of your traveling agenda in the Wine Country. Riding a hot air balloon will enable you to see the beauty of the countryside in a way that even viewing the vineyards from a hilltop winery won’t equal. Plus, it will give you a kind of serenity that you’ve never felt before.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) offers hot air balloon flights beginning at sunrise. The great thing is you can enjoy a balloon ride at any season of the year. For over 40 years, BATV has been satisfying guests with its marvelous balloon flights, pre-flight breakfasts, post-flight brunches, limousine transportation, winery tours, and lots more! Call us at 800-464-6824 to learn more about our exciting hot air balloon flights and wine tours packages!

So when is the best time of the year for vacations in Napa Valley? Really, it’s up to you! All four seasons in the Wine Country are truly beautiful and unique in their own way.

Wine Tours in San Francisco – Expect the Unexpected

Each day California, USA offers a variety of choices to tourists visiting there. For instance, take wine tours in San Francisco and you’ll find different and exciting ways to go and see. And more often than not, you will discover unexpected delights that will make your California trip more memorable.

Napa Valley is a wine region which is just a 90 minute drive away from San Francisco’s downtown. From the hustle and bustle of the city you’ll be transported into a different world in just a matter of minutes — the hills and valleys, the vineyards, the established and contemporary wineries, and picture-perfect countryside beauty and serene atmosphere. This is something that’s unexpected, but wonderful!

And where else will you experience riding a hot air balloon ride over the valleys and vineyards than in Napa Valley? Expect the unexpected — there’s nothing in the world like it and this is so unlike other tours in the United States, and even many parts of the world. Imagine when you’re up there in the hot air balloon, you’re viewing all these beautiful well-kept vineyards as well as the rolling hills and valleys basking under the sunrise glow. And after that enchanting hot air balloon ride, the fun doesn’t end! You have a chance to savor the freshness of Napa Valley cuisine, excellent shopping options, a dose of winery education and culture, near-flawless service, and the warm hospitality of the people there — as warm as the wines that go inside your senses as you drink them.

Who will let you know where and how to experience all of this? You want to use the best hot air balloon operator, Balloons Above the Valley or BATV. It is the first company to provide leisure hot air balloon flights over the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape to clients and has been providing them for nearly four decades.

BATV longevity comes from its commitment to offer their clients top-rate services and their variety of tours packages with different price ranges so that clients can choose one that will fit their budget.

One of BATV’s most popular tour packages is the two-day San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package. If you think that it’s just another wine tour, think again! For the price you can expect full luxury when touring the Napa Valley! Have a breakfast in style via one of our limo buses as you’re being transported from San Francisco’s downtown to the vineyards. Enjoy on-board breakfast with a mimosa. A tour near San Francisco won’t be complete without looking at the Golden Gate Bridge, so our chauffeur will stop at the vista point overlooking the famous bridge where you and other guests will have a chance to view it and have posterity photos taken.

Once you’re in the Wine Country, discover the vineyards and the wineries in Napa and Sonoma, diverse as the selection of wines they offer. A chance for olive oil tasting as well as wine tasting should delight the senses.

The next day is the big day — the hot air balloon flight! Before taking your ascent on the hot air balloon, you will be treated to a hot and delicious pre-flight breakfast with Starbucks coffee before being driven to the hot air balloon launching site.

Once you’re on board and the flight is in full-swing, your knowledgeable pilot will point to places of interest as he steers the balloon to a gentle glide in the crisp morning air. Don’t forget to take pictures of the stunning Napa Valley landscape and have a posterity selfie!

After the glorious flight over the valley, you will be treated to a sumptuous post-flight brunch with sparkling wine. It’s the chance for you and the other guests to gush at how wonderful the hot air balloon flight was.

If you think the fun’s over, well, not yet! Balloons Above the Valley gives you the option to go on a last-minute shopping trip. In this case, our chauffeur will drop you off at one of the two shopping destinations — the Oxbow Public Market or The Napa Valley Premium Outlets. Following the afternoon shopping you will be transported back to San Francisco via a ferry — with free tickets.

You will also have the option to be sent back to SF right after the post-flight brunch. The choice is yours! Just tell us at what your preference is and we will glad comply with your request.

Who says are wine tours have to be pedestrian? See the wine tours in San Francisco from a different perspective. Consider the Napa Valley’s peerless scenery, the warmth of the people, the vivid arts and culture scene, the food, and of course the wines. Then add the extraordinary hot air balloon ride from Balloons Above the Valley. Once you’re there at Napa Valley, expect the unexpected and experience the best wine tour you’ll ever have!

Things to Do in the Bay Area When You Visit January 2016

It’s time to bid farewell to 2015 and be thankful for such an eventful year, highlighted by lots of exciting travels and memorable journeys. As 2016 ushers in, expect more exciting things to do in the Bay Area, and you won’t have to wait long for January to greet you with a host of events!

Napa Valley is well-known for world famous food and wine. For gastronomes, especially the truffle lovers, mark your calendars because from January 15 to 18 there will be Napa Valley’s 5th Truffle Festival. Renowned truffle experts from many parts of the world will share their extensive knowledge about the most expensive fungus in the world. If you’re one of the truffle fans, you will be led to a host of seminars, truffle foraging, as well as exclusive lunches that involve truffle and wine pairings. Michelin-starred chefs will be showcasing their creations in the Truffles and Wine Dinner.

Make sure not to miss out on the Napa Truffle Festival at the Oxbow Public Market on the concluding day of the festival. Buy fresh truffles, artisan and specialty food products, and have a rare chance to win an authentic black truffle! How cool is that?

Good vibes must enter the new year, so it’s only befitting that the annual San Francisco Comedy Festival aka SF Sketchfest will start 2016 with laughter and enjoyment. Unlike the previous Sketchfest, this coming Sketchfest will be held earlier than usual due to the effect of hotel and venue availability brought about by the Super Bowl coming in February. Even so, guests will be treated to sketches, monologues, and improv performances by San Francisco’s popular stand-up comedians.

Other upcoming Bay Area events lined up for January 2016 will be also worth attending and investigating. Among of these will include the Silicon Valley International Auto Show in San Jose (January 7-10), The San Francisco Tape Music Festival (January 8-10), and the Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival in Oakland (January 30-31), among others. Of course, food festivals are always plentiful in San Francisco, including the upcoming Delicato Vineyards and Fine Arts Show (mid-January through early February) and Bacon Fest Sacramento (January 25-31), apart from the Truffle Festival.

Guests will most likely want a break away from the attending a flurry of festivals in the Bay Area. There couldn’t be a better place to spend it than in the Napa Valley. In the winter months of December and January, tourism is at its lowest point in the Napa Valley and it’s the perfect chance to take advantage of hotel discounts as well as the unhurried atmosphere and unique natural beauty. Instead of the lush and neat rows of vineyards in the summer, they are quite dormant and barren in the winter. But not to worry, because the sleeping vineyards will be upstaged by brilliant yellows from the wild mustard blooms and the bright emerald green fields and hills. There is no finer winter scenery as the one in the Napa Valley!

Everywhere you look is beautiful in Napa Valley, but there’s nothing like viewing the gorgeous landscape from the sky. This will be achieved by riding a hot air balloon. It sounds like a great idea to start the 2016 on a high note (pun intended).

When you plan to go on a hot air balloon journey over the valley, Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) should be your first choice. BATV has been providing enjoyable and safe flights, as well as other perks, to clients since the early 1970s, and it is still flying high to this day.

BATV offers spectacular sunrise hot air balloon rides over the Napa Valley in any season. We also offer you other perks like warm and freshly-made pre-flight breakfasts and exquisite seasonal post-flight brunches while you and your friends reminisce about the wonderful flight you’ve just had.

BATV also offers sunrise hot air balloon flights and wine tour packages that include a tour to vineyards as well as wineries, a limo service with on-board breakfast, a chance to take photos with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, picnic-style lunches, and a lot more! BATV will also accommodate weddings and proposals, group and corporate flights as well as exclusive flights and post-flight brunch tables. Call us at 800-464-6824 to learn about our fabulous packages.

The New Year should be started on a beautiful and positive note, not to mention having things to do in the Bay Area. January 2016 will keep you occupied with lots of exciting festivals and other activities to enjoy.