You Won’t Believe the Fun Things to Do in Napa Valley!

There are so many fun things to do in Napa Valley. Some people think of Napa Valley as only a lovely wine region that produces the best wines in the world. But it’s not just a sleepy wine region with lots of well-arranged patchwork of grapevines. You can discover a lot of fun things to enjoy.

There is a plethora of sensational pleasures (or pleasurable sensations) that are brimming in this world-famous Wine Country. Wine lovers, in particular, will want to visit the wineries, but there are some wineries that are considered a standout not just for their wines, but also for the place itself.

One of the most celebrated wineries is the Castello di Amorosa. Built in 2007, the massive castle follows faithfully to the 12th and 13th century Tuscan architecture — complete with moats and high defensive towers. Touring around this fabulous castle is like stepping back into the medieval era. The castle has more than 100 rooms that include a chapel (although the castle doesn’t hold weddings there), the Il Pasito Room for more private food and wine pairings, and the romantic cross-vaulted Grand Barrel Room where some of the wines are stored in French oak barrels. It’s like having a banquet with the European nobility when dining at the Great Hall and the beautiful courtyard. While ogling at the fantastic brick-layered rooms and painted frescoes, guests also get to savor Castello’s wines which include its most famous, the Il Barone Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you want to visit a more rustic place, perhaps you should go to the Bale Grist Grill Mill State Historic Park. Located between the cities of St. Helena and Calistoga, the Bale Grist Mill is one of the oldest water-powered grist mills existing in California. The grist mill itself, built during the early 1800′s, was once the hub of Napa Valley’s social activity as settlers came to have their corn and wheat made into flour. Guests can witness the old-style milling demos, as well as tour the mill. They can also take a hike to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, just a trail away from the grist mill.

Still in Calistoga, the city is also famous for its natural wonder — a geyser called the “Old Faithful in California,” which cannot be confused with the Old Geyser in Wyoming. It is also called “Little Old Faithful.” The geyser erupts from a geothermal well drilled in the 1800s. The Calistoga Hot Springs is also a famous spot where people can swim, tan under the sun, or just relax and unwind.

Want to look at some fine art? There are a number of fine art galleries in the Napa County but one you may want to visit is the Quent Cordair Fine Art Gallery. Located on the West End of downtown Napa, it showcases the finest of the Romantic Realist artworks by award-winning artists such as Bryan Larsen and Han Wu Shen. You will be amazed at how realistic many of the paintings are — especially the portraits — as if they could come to life. You only wish they’d actually step out of the frame. The sculptures are extraordinary on their own, too.

The most amazing of the Napa Valley trips may be experienced from up in the air. How’s that? Well, through riding on a hot air balloon! Picturesque Napa Valley is one of the most popular sites in the world for hot air ballooning. We know you’d like to see why!

If you’ve decided to go for the ride and ask which company provides the best operators for your hot air balloon ride, Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) of course! With almost four decades in the industry and extremely satisfied customers, BATV is still going strong.

BATV provides the safest and the most enjoyable sunrise hot air balloon rides over the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape. A hot air balloon ride also gives you a vast perspective of the Napa Valley ecosystem — the neat rows of lush vineyards stitched together like a giant organized quilt in the verdant plains, rolling hills and deep valleys, set against the blue early morning sky. Our pilots, enhanced by years of experience, will guide you to other sites of interest such as the famous wineries as you glide along peacefully in the sky.

The idea of riding a hot air balloon might sound intimidating at first. However, you will eventually agree with us that the serene but compelling beauty of the Napa countryside is best viewed from the heavens above.

The ride itself would have been a treat already, but BATV has some other things in store for you! A fantastically fresh and delicious pre-flight breakfast will wake up your senses before you leave for the hot air balloon launch site. A mouth-watering post-flight brunch with sparkling wine will help you celebrate with other guests at how the flight was the best you’ve ever experienced! Following the post-flight brunch you may shop at the wonderful Oxbow Public Market or the Napa Valley Premium Outlets.

One of the BATV’s most popular packages, the San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package, will give you a tour to some of the wineries. It will also offer a comfy and luxurious bus limo ride from downtown San Francisco to the Wine Country, as well as ferry transportation back to the city. See this package and other excellent hot air balloon and wine tour options here in this link:

Napa Valley is a magical place, but it is far from being stiff or listless. At first you may find it incredible that there are fun things to do in Napa Valley, but once you try them, you swear you’ll be coming back for more!

These Napa Wine Tour Packages Are Awesome, Check Them Out!

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is an operator that provides hot air balloon rides to guests visiting the Napa Valley, California. We have the ultimate Napa wine tour packages that not only offer amazing sunrise hot air balloon rides, but also offer luxuries, comforts, and other amenities with unbeatable prices.

From the start of its journey in 1976, Balloons Above the Valley is now flying high above its competitors. It has remained one of the best hot air balloon companies in Napa Valley. Our longevity in the business is factored by positive commendations (and recommendations) from travel critics and our dear patrons who are happy with our services.

The view from the sky as you ride the hot air balloon is just beyond compare. You will marvel at the neat rows of grapevines that mark the plains and are set against the rolling hills and the deep valleys, all lush and green (or boasting colors of green and golden in the autumn) and greeting the rays of the sunrise. The tranquility and oneness with Mother Nature is something that cannot be described so easily — but you will be in a literally heightened bliss, that’s the least we could say! That’s appreciation of the Napa Valley’s beauty on a different level.

BATV’s cleverly designed sunrise hot air balloon packages are among the favorites of our guests. Two of our tour packages also include wine tours in Napa Valley (as well as Sonoma Valley)

Sunrise Balloon Flight/Champagne Brunch/Wine Tour – A day (or two) will be filled with adventure and discovery as BATV offers this type of package for those who want to fly and explore wineries.

Before your sunrise hot air balloon ride, we won’t let you go hungry so we serve you a hot, fresh and yummy breakfast with Starbucks coffee to get you alert and more excited.

After that breathtaking flight, you will be treated to a fabulous brunch where you can share your amazing experience with the other guests while sipping on champagne (or more correctly, sparkling wine).

Our transportation partner Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will then take you around the valley for the wonderful wine tour via their fleet of limos and limo buses. You may choose this activity right after the post-flight champagne brunch or elect to do this the following day.

Napa Valley Wine Country Tours goes out of its way to choose wineries which they see as appealing to you and the other guests. Trained and knowledgeable chauffeurs will guide you all the way on your wine tours, share their valuable insights pertaining to your wineries, and are open to answer your every query. Don’t worry if you ask them basic questions — no question is too simple for them!

You’ll be able to visit four to six different wineries. Discover the process of winemaking from grapes to glass, and also have the opportunity to taste premium wines from smaller boutique wineries. Enjoy buffet-style lunches at one of the lovely vineyards which only serves the freshest seasonal ingredients.

BATV and the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will re-work your schedule in case your hot air balloon ride is canceled due to weather conditions.

San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package – Taking a vacation in San Francisco? You may also include wine tours in your agenda especially if you also plan to visit the Wine Country, which is just a 90-minute drive from the city.

BATV and Napa Valley Country Wine Tours are also happy to provide you safe and convenient trips from San Francisco to the Napa Valley and back. Napa Valley Country Wine Tours pick you from one of three pickup locations in SF (4th at Mission, Union Square, and Pier 39) and drive you to the Wine Country. Not only you do ride on their luxurious limo buses, you also get to enjoy an on-board breakfast with mimosa. When you get to the vista point overlooking the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to have a stop there for a photo-op!

As you drive through the vineyards, our knowledgeable chauffeur will guide you through interesting points of interest and answer your questions. The diverse wineries will represent a wonderful sample of the delicate and divine tastes of both Napa and Sonoma counties. Apart from wine tasting, an olive oil tasting is also in order. Take a break from visiting the wineries during our delicious and fresh picnic-style lunch at one of the wineries.

Day Two of this package consists of the yummy pre-flight breakfast with Starbucks Coffee, an amazing sunrise hot air balloon flight, and a sumptuous post-flight brunch.

Following the brunch, you may elect to go back to San Francisco via a ferry ride. The Napa Valley Country Wine Tours will transport you right away to the Ferry Terminal in Vallejo.

Or if you have the shopping and sightseeing bug, the Napa Valley Country Tours will pick you up and drop you off at one of the two shopping spots of your choice. Shop at the famous Oxbow Public Market (famous for its unique and artisanal delicacies) and the Napa Valley Premium Outlets before you going back to San Francisco via a ferry ride.

BATV offers more than just hot air balloon rides over the heavenly Napa Valley landscape, which is already a big treat in itself. Add in the wine tours which will enrich your knowledge about wines and winemaking, and the luxury at competitive prices — what could be better than these Napa Wine Tour Packages from Balloons Above the Valley?

Romance Abounds for Your Honeymoon in Napa Valley

Whether you plan your honeymoon in Napa Valley before or after the wedding, it’s very important to you that the place should be paradise. If you want to have everything in a honeymoon vacation, Napa Valley is the perfect location.

Napa Valley is a wine region in Napa County, California. It is famous the world over for their unique blends such as the Cabernet Sauvignon red wines, and the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc white wines. In addition to the premium wines, Napa Valley is also famous for its charming countryside, vibrant festivals and recreation opportunities, and the finest hotels, restaurants, and resorts. There are a variety of things to do in Napa – more than you might imagine!

More than 400 vineyards dot the Napa and Sonoma valleys, and if you’re all about the wines, you will have a handful there. For impromptu wine tastings, you may have to go to the bigger wineries. But if you want to have a more intimate tastings (and a honeymoon is practically about intimate moments, isn’t it?) you may have to book for reservations at the smaller boutique wineries. Explore the underground cellars such as the massive wine cave beneath Rutherford Hill.

A honeymoon is also an opportunity for the newlyweds to take a well-deserved break from the preparations and the big day. Relax at one of several fine resorts and spas such as the Milliken Creek Inn and Spa, a perfect place to stay during your honeymoon. Situated in the heart of the Napa Valley, this charming resort is like living in a beautiful home. There is a pretty garden beside the river, where you can also do activities such as kayaking. Rooms are designed with excellent taste making you feel cozy — they have queen-sized beds, en suite bathrooms and fireplace. Pamper yourself and your new spouse with Milliken’s exclusive spas. Upon arriving at the resort you’ll be welcomed with chocolate-covered strawberries and a quarter bottle of champagne. Wi-Fi is free of charge, too.

Napa Valley has many fine quality dining options. Why not try Tra Vigne, one of the highest-rated restaurants. The restaurant’s quaint charm and laid-back, lush setting make it a perfect place to have a romantic Tuscan-styled dinner. Their famed pizzeria features all-time favorites as Rosemary Pizzetta and Wood-Oven Baked Fig Pizza, which are a must-try.

Or get aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, a fantastically-restored 19th-century train where there are exquisite-looking rooms for fine dining. Have a romantic lunch and dinner inside the train as it passes in the midst of the lovely vineyards from Napa to St. Helena (and back).

For the ultimate romantic experience, why not go for a hot air balloon ride? If you decide to go for it, no need to second-guess which is the best operator to provide the hot air balloon ride. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is the pioneer of hot air balloon rides in Napa, having established in 1976 and still the top choice of many clients who come to Napa Valley.

Our spacious baskets will let you move freely as your hot air balloon gently glides through the air. Experience the beauty of Napa Valley like you’ve never seen before by viewing it at a vast perspective — well-arranged rows of grapevines against the rolling hills and deep valleys. The foliage features several shades of green in the summer, and then turns to an explosion of green, red, and orange in the fall, and brilliant yellows and emerald greens in the winter and spring. Whichever season you choose for your honeymoon, romance is alive in Napa Valley.

Some of our sunrise hot air balloon packages include wine tours in Napa and Sonoma. But if you want the ride that brings you closer together, you can choose our Exclusive Flights package. In this package you can have the hot air balloon virtually to yourself, and a private table at the post-flight champagne brunch celebration. Prices in the Exclusive Flights package may vary so if you want to book a reservation call us at 800-464-6824 to learn more.

A fancy dinner date, a cozy and lovely place to stay, leisurely activities and a dash of thrilling adventure in a hot air balloon ride — romance is alive in well for your honeymoon in Napa Valley.

Learn About Special Wine Tours in San Francisco

You and your loved one or your best friend want to have a getaway together and you want to make it more special. Wine tours in San Francisco will do more than just enough, especially if both of you love wines and compelling, beautiful scenery to go along with thrilling adventure along the way.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) can help you in your quest for the perfect San Francisco wine tour getaway. One of BATV’s most popular packages is the San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package. At only $836 for two persons, you will experience luxury, adventure, discovery and convenience at your fingertips for two days. And this quality is not found with our competitors. You don’t have to bother about the itinerary because BATV takes care of that for you. Plus the package is affordable but it doesn’t cut corners on quality or pleasure — you will live like you have a million bucks even if you don’t have a million bucks!

BATV and Napa’s leading tourism transportation operator Napa Valley Wine Country Tours join forces to give you the most comfortable and enjoyable tours in the world-famous wine country. If you plan to stay in downtown San Francisco, you may want to include a hot air balloon ride over the gorgeous Napa Valley as part of your activities.

Napa Valley is just over a 90-minute drive from the city, but you don’t have to drive or commute. Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will bring their chauffeured limo bus to take you to the Wine Country. Once on board, you and other guests will enjoy a fresh and delicious breakfast with mimosa. As you leave San Francisco, don’t miss to have a photo with the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge.

Your chauffeur will chat about other points of interest and welcomes your questions as you drive through wine country. You will visit diverse wineries in Napa as well as in Sonoma, and the wines there are delightfully diverse, too. An olive oil tasting is also included. A break from the winery tour will lead you to a delicious picnic-style lunch: turkey sandwich, olive pasta, mozzarella-tomato-basil skewers, falafel and hummus are topped off with a seasonal dessert.

The following day will be the most-awaited day — you’re going on a hot air balloon ride! A fresh and delicious pre-flight breakfast will help awaken your senses before you arrive at the hot air balloon site. After the balloons are inflated, you can hop into the basket and let the magic begin…

You will see the compelling, enchanting beauty of Napa Valley from another view that is up in the sky. You will be amazed to see the neat rows of grapevines, lush vegetation, and awe-inspiring landscape basking in the sunrise glow. Although seeing Napa Valley on the ground or from a hill is lovely, seeing the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape from up the sky is beyond compare!

After your wonderful ride, you and the other guests will be feted with a yummy and seasonal post-flight brunch with sparkling wine. Following the post-flight brunch you may have the option to go back to San Francisco via a ferry ride, or go shopping first at Oxbow Public Market or the Napa Valley Premium Outlets. That’s the beauty of our packages. You have the choice to do many activities!

If you want to make your wine tours in San Francisco more special, add a hot air balloon ride with Balloons Above the Valley, the award-winning pioneer of hot air balloon rides in Napa Valley.

It’s Not Too Early to Plan Summer Vacations in Napa Valley

You can plan for summer vacations in Napa Valley anytime you want to, whether if it’s in the middle or late in the year before another summer occurs. One benefit of planning early is that you are able to take advantage of discounts before other people are even aware of them.

Contrary to common belief, planning early for a summer vacation in Napa is not as hard and daunting as you might think. As long as you plan carefully, hunt for discounts, and look beyond what’s mainstream, your vacation should be wonderful!

Summer is the peak time for Napa Valley tourism, and hotels aren’t really that cheap during this season. You might as well look for ways to save on your lodging expenses without sacrificing quality. For example, perhaps your credit card company offers special pricing at a particular hotel chain which leads you to great savings. Or if you belong to a certain company or organization, it would be great to know if they arrange travel and hotel deals for members. It won’t hurt to check with hotels to make sure that they don’t have “hidden charges” such as extra fees for parking or Wi-Fi. Trendy downtown Napa has the best places to stay for budget travelers.

If you don’t want to stay at a hotel, there are also great alternatives. There are several properties in Napa Valley that you can rent, such as charming homes with pretty gardens, mountain cabins, or spacious condos for vacation rentals. If you and your family like to “rough it,” there are several great camping sites and RV parks in the area such as the Napa Valley Expo RV Park, Enchanted Hills Retreat, and Skyline Wilderness Park. Summer is the perfect time to go camping, isn’t it?

If you’re all about the wines and visiting some of the over 400 wineries in Napa, look out for some discount coupons. Everyone hunts for them these days. No one can blame tourists for wanting discount coupons when most wineries charge $10 per person or more at few wineries. Look for coupons from accredited establishments in Napa Valley or download apps such as the Winery Finder app.

Summer is chockfull of outdoor activities in Napa, naturally. Aside from camping out, you can also do biking amidst the beautiful vineyards, swimming at several resorts and Lake Berryessa where you can also do a variety of extreme water sports or milder activities such fishing and boating. Check out several bike rentals across Napa as well as boat/jet ski rentals in Lake Berryessa.

It’s also great to plan an adventuresome summer vacation in Napa Valley. You may include a sunrise hot air balloon ride as one of your desired summer activities. And why not? It’s also a great way to escape all the crazy summer activities on ground near Napa Valley for a while. Although it’s a little frightening, the sheer pleasure and magic of riding on a hot air balloon is all worth it. It surely puts a thrill to your Napa Valley summer vacation!

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is the most trusted company tourists choose for their sunrise hot air balloon riding. With almost 40 years in the business and several awards and recommendations to its name, not to mention extremely satisfied clients, BATV keeps it commitment to provide satisfaction to guests who want to experience hot air balloon rides in Napa — any season of the year.

BATV offers you an experience that is beyond perfection. As we take you to literally greater heights in the sunrise morning, you will get to see a more heavenly view of the Napa Valley landscape. Neat rows of vineyards work like massive quilts in the rolling verdant hills, set against the clear blue morning sky. You will feel an otherworldly peace surround you as you float gently in the sky. Of course, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to take pictures of the amazing beauty of the Napa Valley scenery below you.

Pre-flight hot and delicious breakfast and Starbucks coffee will perk you up before going to the hot air balloon site. A sumptuous seasonal post-flight brunch with sparkling wine will greet you and your party to celebrate the successful and amazing airborne journey. If quality and quantity matters to you, BATV offers packages that have more than just hot air balloon rides. We also offer shopping options, wine tours, comfortable transportation to and from downtown San Francisco, and other wonderful perks. These packages have set prices which will help you in deciding your budget. We have no extra charges so you will feel secure in booking your reservations with us. Check out our hot air balloon and wine tour packages:

Who says it’s too early to plan for a summer vacations in Napa Valley? Planning early will keep you from feeling the stress that other people usually experience when doing last-minute vacation preparations.

Napa Valley, California – A Great Place to Visit Any Time

One of the hottest tourist destinations in the United States is Napa Valley, California. Napa Valley is only about a 90 minutes drive from downtown San Francisco. However, once you transport from the urban jungle and the typical hustle and bustle to the rolling hills, the lush vineyards, and the laidback atmosphere it feels like you’re in a different world altogether.

The beautiful Napa Valley region produces about 90% of the nation’s wine. Since the mid-1970s when the local wines were introduced to the rest of the world, the Napa Valley has since been the destination for both wine lovers as well as lovers of its picturesque landscape. You can expect to find the region filled with like-minded wine connoisseurs in the summer and fall, but its agreeable mild climate makes it also a great place to have a holiday during any time of the year, even during Napa’s off-peak season.

Explore several of Napa’s 400 plus wineries if wine-tasting and visiting the wineries and vineyards are your top priority. However, don’t forget to leave an afternoon or two to explore some of Napa’s cultural and culinary offerings — from the artisanal goodies at the Oxbow Public Market, lively music festivals, art galleries and colorful markets.

There are several hiking trails, camping sites, water sports activities by Lake Berryessa for those who want a dash of adventure. Want to tour Napa Valley in style? Go biking at the vineyards, have a basic car-based wine tours (chauffeur may also be included), hop aboard a beautifully-restored vintage wine train where you can also dine, or plan your own hot air balloon adventure.

All of these activities are an exploration of the Napa Valley’s beauty and uniqueness. The hot air balloon is one of the most popular modes of exploring the beauty of Napa Valley, but from a more unique perspective. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) was the first to conceive of offering hot air balloon rides to tourists. After almost 40 years, it is still flying high above the competition!

BATV will make your dreams of admiring the famous landscape of the Napa Valley up from the sky come true. The neat rows of grapevines and the alluring rolling hills are lush and green in the summer. They will turn a more explosive combination of different shades of greens, reds, oranges, and yellows in the fall. The Napa Valley is not a white winter wonderland, but will instead regale you with a vivid combinations of bright yellows (from the wild mustard flowers that upstage the sleeping vineyards) and the emerald hills, which will last up to springtime!

Aside from the vineyards and the rolling hills, you will get to see other points of interest such as the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge where you can see the large expanse of marshland that varies in color from brown to green. See the migrating birds flying over the wetlands which they will make their home. See the beautiful bodies of water like the rivers and lakes, which include Napa’s biggest lake, the Lake Berryessa. This lake is also a reservoir formed by a dam, which provides hydroelectricity to the region. From the hot air balloon you may also see the lake’s open-mouth spillway, called the "Glory Hole." Balloons Above the Valley will take you to more beautiful and interesting places beside the already-majestic views of the Napa Valley.

San Francisco is the gateway of tourism in California, and opens a lot of opportunities for travel, food and all sorts of pleasures. San Francisco’s next-door neighbor, the Napa Valley, allows tourists to enjoy a more leisurely pace and the loveliness of Mother Nature. Napa Valley, California is a world-class tourist destination full of wonders — natural beauty, wines, food and activities — waiting to be explored any time of the year.

Napa Valley Tours – Exciting Ways to See the Valley

Napa Valley tours can be found that offer stunning natural beauty you can appreciate in more than just one way because one way won’t satisfy you. Aside from walking around the vineyards and other beautiful sights, there are other interesting and exciting ways to enjoy Napa Valley tours the next time you visit.

Biking is one of the most popular modes of pleasure transportation in the Napa Valley. Compared to going around the vineyards by foot, biking is not as tiring although it is also a form of exercise. Biking allows you to slow down and enjoy the fresh air and scenery, as well as the chance to get closer to the vineyards teeming with beautiful grapes. Choose the easy path or the more challenging trails if you want to have some adventure. There are many operators who offer biking services to tourists, and you have the option to go on guided cycling tours or just bike on your own.

The Napa Valley Wine Train will be the answer to your fantasies by allowing you to ride an authentically vintage train. It’s a lovingly-restored heritage train which began its operation during the 1860s. The Napa Valley Wine Train will take you on a three-hour round-trip excursion between Napa and St. Helena. While viewing the gorgeous scenery outside, passengers also have the option to enjoy delicious gourmet meals and sample some of the best wines from the region. The train may also make occasional stops at Domaine Chandon winery in Yountville and the Grgich Hills Estate where guest-passengers can also choose to enjoy wine tours. With the train’s beautifully ornate interiors and tastefully presented hors d’oeuvres, entrees, and desserts, everything in the Napa Valley Wine Train is surely Instagrammable!

Getting around Napa Valley by car is also a popular transportation option. You can go for sophisticated, comfortable and relaxing wine tours by choosing a chauffeured limo service or rent a car and hit the roads by yourself. Of course, when you do the driving, you will want to wait until you get back to your hotel before enjoying the wine you bought. Discover several established and boutique wineries and go to other points of interest such as cruising along the scenic Silverado Trail.

All of the above kinds of transportation have their own unique appeal. But many tourists have sworn that the best way to appreciate the beauty of the Napa Valley is from the sky! How is that possible? It’s by a hot air balloon, of course!

You will fly among the clouds to see the most picturesque views of the Napa Valley like you’ve never seen them before. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is the original hot air balloon flight operator to feed our guests’ passion and longing for airborne journeys above the wondrous Napa Valley landscape.

Imagine rising majestically above the Napa Valley in a morning mist. Very soon though, the light from the sunrise will gradually reveal the beauty of the countryside. It will let you view, more clearly, the neat and lovely rows of grapevines that seem to stitch together to form a giant quilt. They’re surrounded by the brilliant green rolling hills and dotted by lakes that now seem to look like tiny puddles of water. Aside from enjoying the enchanting views, you will also enjoy the tranquility that surrounds you and revel in the serenity.

Balloons Above the Valley offers more than just hot air balloon rides. We also serve our guests a well-deserved pre-flight breakfast, post-flight brunch with champagne (or more correctly, a sparkling wine), as well as options for shopping. BATV also offers chauffeured wine tours (plus on-board breakfast) which will take you to several boutique wineries. If you don’t wish to ride the hot air balloon but instead would like to follow your friends from the ground, we also have a package for that! BATV also caters to weddings, proposals, and company and group tours. Give us a call if you have questions, we’re happy to answer whatever questions you have.

Whether by car, cycling, taking the train, or by riding a hot air balloon, there are a lot of exciting Napa Valley tours for every discerning tourist.

Napa Activities You Can Enjoy This Christmas

The Yuletide season is just round the corner, and if you’re looking for Napa activities because Napa Valley is your holiday destination, there couldn’t be a better choice! The beautiful scenery, as well as the world-class wines and cuisine, are just a few of the many Napa activities that you can enjoy this Christmas.

Aside from the scenery and the food and wine, the low-discount rates offered by many hotels in the Wine Country will also surely be a pull for a lot of tourists. December is one of the quietest months in the Napa Valley where several hotels slash discounts to attract visitors.

Despite the relative stillness for tourism in the Napa Valley, you will be surprised and delighted about the several exciting activities lined up for you, especially when the holidays are just coming near. With the warmth brought by the fine-quality wines, it’s one of the reasons why you will want to spend time in and celebrate Yuletide cheer in the wine country!

One of the activities you don’t want to miss while in Napa Valley during the holidays is the Twelve Days of Christmas at Meadowood, a lovely resort and spa. For the first time in eight years, the Twelve Days of Christmas will not only feature one winemaker (as it did in the past), but several of them. The Meadowood team will give themselves and their guests the chance to showcase more winemakers during the course of the event. The Twelve Days of Christmas will include both established and rising wineries in the country. Meadowood will also feature world-class chefs and their culinary creations on each of the twelve days. If you’re such a wine and food lover, you cannot afford to pass up this chance!

Want to take a tour around the Napa and Sonoma Valleys? No problem because Napa Valley Wine Trolley and Sonoma Wine Trolley will take you to some the most beautiful spots in the region. Hop aboard the open-air cable cars and explore scenic views of Sonoma vineyards, explore wineries, behold the lovely Victorian-period houses, and delicious catered lunches, and much more! Grab a reservation to hop aboard the Napa’s Holiday Wine Trolley and there you will get to enjoy the fun ride along with Christmas carols.

The holiday spirit continues in the Wine Country, even up in the sky! Many tourists would like to take advantage of the beautiful seasonal scenery in the Napa Valley by taking a hot air balloon ride. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is the pioneer operator of hot air balloons flights to tourists in Napa Valley.

Enjoy the picturesque scenery of Napa Valley like you’ve never seen it before. The Napa Valley doesn’t have the typical snowy-white scene during the holidays, but you’ll be met by an otherworldly beauty unique to the wine region. The sleeping vineyards are upstaged by the brilliant yellow blooms of the wild mustard. Watch the emerald green rolling hills being enveloped by a white mist which creates a somewhat a mystic appearance and makes the views even more beautiful.

While summer and autumn may be the best times in Napa Valley according to most tourists, you can also find and enjoy delightful perks and amenities in the Napa Valley during Christmas time. With exceptionally beautiful seasonal scenery, a relatively leisurely pace, and excellent discounts, wintertime also means it is also the best time to ride on a hot air balloon! Balloons Above the Valley is always here to give you the Napa activities that you can enjoy this Christmas.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Wine Tours in California

Whether you are in Napa, Sonoma Valley, or any other wine region, wine tours in California are guaranteed to be an unforgettable affair, especially if you’re interested in wines. But in order to get more out of your wine tours (especially if this is your first time), take note of these do’s and don’ts:

The Do’s:

  1. Explore Napa Valley (as well as Sonoma Valley)
    To make the most out of your California wine tours, explore Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Napa Valley is a world-class wine region which offers so many things to do, see, and taste. Try out several wine tasting rooms, superior restaurants, and cafes. Check out some of the local hotels and inns. Attend local art exhibitions, museums, and live concerts, opera houses, and sample the nightlife offerings. For the foodies, visit the Oxbow market to have a taste of the delicacies only made in Napa — fresh and continuous produce, artisan cupcakes, coffee and chocolates, not to mention an astounding assortment of wines. Sonoma Valley, although known as a more tranquil counterpart, has a charming district that offers a wide array of top restaurants and local artisan stores.
  2. Learn true wine-tasting
    When you are at a tasting room, remember that drinking wine is both a science and an art. You just don’t drink the wine; it’s more like studying it. Evaluate the wine’s appearance such as its color (for example, the color of the white wine tends to go deeper as they age, while the red wines usually lose color as they mature). Then check the wine’s bouquet, or its aroma. Swirl the wine around the glass — this technique will help the wine to get more exposure to the air. As the wine settles, take a sniff of it. As a general rule of thumb, young wines generally will have more fruity smells, while older wines tend to have more complex aromas such as the smell of oak or grass. After that, take a small sip of the wine. As you do this, pay attention to the weight and body of the wine. It may be light and thin, or rich and heavy. You may want to assess how balanced the wine is. Then finally, savor the wine, or spit it. Don’t be shy to spit the wine if your taste buds don’t agree with it — this is not considered offensive to the staff or to the other tasters. You don’t have to like every wine you taste — just drink the wine you prefer.

    If you have to taste other wines, don’t forget to help yourself to the crackers, breadsticks, cheeses, lunch meats, as well as water. Most tasting rooms have them, which will help to cleanse your palate between tastings. If you feel a bit tipsy, stop tasting the wine; eat something and drink some water.

  3. Rent a car or employ a chauffeur-driven vehicle
    You’re in the Wine Country to enjoy, not to engage in some debate on who’s going to drive in the end. The most feasible option is to rent a car and designate someone to be the driver (or switch places). But if you’re traveling in a group, the best way is to hire a chauffeur-driven limo bus where all you have to do is to enjoy the sights, or doze off in the back seat for a while if it’s needed.

The Don’ts:

  1. Don’t forget to drink water
    While drinking water seems to be common sense, this is often ignored. Make sure you drink enough water whether before, during, or after your wine tastings. Water helps clear your palate between tastings; it also helps hydrate your body.
  2. Don’t try to go to visit too many wineries and vineyards in a day
    If you try to visit too many wineries and vineyards at a time, it means that you will spend more time hopping from one winery to another than actually spending time at the wineries themselves. Try visiting 2-3 wineries in a day, at most, and as long as you start early in the day. This will allow you enough time to discover the wineries in a more in-depth manner.
  3. Don’t just visit the popular wineries
    Add some thrill and sense of discovery to your itinerary by going to at least one relatively unknown winery. You can also try out lesser-known activities like food-and-wine pairing at Beringer Vineyards, concoct your own wines in seminars at Chateau St. Jean, or take educational and fun factory tours at Jelly Belly or Sepay Olive Oil.

There are a lot of things to do in Napa Valley other than just visiting the wineries and tasting wines. One of the most sought-after activities is riding a hot air balloon at sunrise. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is an award-winning company which has provided tourists safe, enjoyable, and unforgettable hot air balloon rides for nearly 40 years.

Gorgeous views of vineyards-laced Napa Valley all year round from the hot air balloon ride? Check. Fresh and hot pre-flight breakfasts? Check. Sumptuous seasonal post-flight brunch with a sparkling wine? Check. Wine tours with a lovely picnic-style lunch at the winery? Check. Shopping options at Oxbow Public Market or The Napa Valley Premium Outlets? Check. Comfort and luxury transportation on a limo bus? Check. Experienced and knowledgeable pilots? Check. Warm, smiling, and accommodating staff? Check. BATV has all of these! We also offer exclusive flights, company/corporate flights, wedding and proposal flights. Our aim is to make our guests satisfied, inspired, and hopefully come back for more.

Flying on a hot air balloon with Balloons Above the Valley is definitely a "do" when you plan your wine tours in California. And once you do, you will never regret it! For more of our hot air balloon rides and wine tours packages as well as booking information, contact us at or 800-464-6824.

Northern California Activities: Plan for Super Bowl 50 Now!

The National Football League (NFL) and football fans have begun a countdown to the Super Bowl’s 50th anniversary on February 7, 2016. It’s expected that there will be a flurry of exciting Northern California activities.

Napa Valley is the official destination partner of the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. With its beautiful natural sights and world-famous wines, they’re more of a reason why you should go to the Wine Country. The following are our suggestions of things to do in Napa Valley before, during and after Super Bowl 50.

It is expected that lodgings in the Napa Valley will be full to the brim before the Big Game festivities. Plan for an extended stay before the game in one of the wine region’s over 150 options to stay and that includes hotels, inns, and resorts.

Of course, it is ideal that you visit at least a few of wineries in Napa Valley, which boasts over 400 of them. You won’t have a true Napa Valley experience if you don’t drop by at tasting rooms in downtown Napa, Calistoga, St. Helena, and Yountville. Looking for a beer to grab for the Super Bowl? Before you do so, take a tour at one of Napa Valley’s microbreweries where you can sample the microbrewery’s own beer.

Napa Valley is replete with world-class restaurants, some of them Michelin-rated. It’s suggested that you choose one that prominently serves Napa Valley wine. If you want to dine in style, ride the fantastically-restored vintage Napa Valley Wine Train where you can have your lunch while crossing along the vineyards.

You definitely don’t want to miss shopping in Napa Valley. Hunt for great deals at some of Napa’s boutiques, outlet stores, and antique shops. If you want some authentic delicacies unique to the region, try the Oxbow Public Market where you can buy the freshest and most sustainable local produce as well as having a taste of artisanal food creations such as chocolates, coffees, fantastic tacos, and so much more.

Want an additional adrenalin rush (aside from the rush from watching the Super Bowl)? Go hiking and camping out at some of Napa Valley’s hiking spots, natural parks, and recreation areas. Go fishing, kayaking or other extreme water sports at Lake Berryessa. If you’re also passionate about golf, Napa Valley has stunning golf courses such as Chardonnay Golf Club. When you’re tired from all the activities, beat stress and unwind by treating yourself with a luxurious spa treatment at one of the spas and health resorts in the region.

Looking for a unique adventure in the Napa Valley? How about observing the gorgeous Napa Valley expanse from a hot air balloon? Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) will fuel your penchant for the unique mix of adventure and tranquility. This activity is perfect before or after the Super Bowl anniversary hubbub. Well, especially if you want to get out of the Big Game fuss even for just a while. You will be able to experience rising from the ground and exploring the beautiful, peerless Napa Valley landscape while a ray of sunrise greets you.

The neat rows of the vineyards will look like giant quilts against the rolling green hills, basking in the glow of the morning sun. You will feel like an explorer out for an adventure but at the same time you will sense tranquility and oneness with Mother Nature. This experience is something that you will want to remember, and it may ignite your desire to come back for another hot air balloon ride again in the future. You will never experience the beauty of the Napa Valley the same way when you’re on the ground.

BATV’s experienced hot air balloon pilots and knowledgeable staff will make you feel at ease. They will also guide you to other points of interest as you glide along peacefully. After you safely land, you and the other guests will celebrate the successful flight with a sumptuous seasonal brunch with a sparkling wine.

Apart from the post-flight brunch, Balloons Above the Valley also offers fresh and delicious pre-flight breakfast, optional shopping that follows the post-flight brunch, luxurious and comfortable transportation, fun and educational wine tours, and many more delightful surprises that await you. Visit to see our amazing balloon and wine tour packages.

As you make your plans for the upcoming Super Bowl 50, enjoy other amazing Northern California activities including a sunrise hot air balloon ride from Balloons Above the Valley.