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Wine Tour San Francisco: A Day Trip to Remember

San Francisco is a big draw for tourists. In 2015 alone, the city welcomed 18.9 million visitors, a big jump from the previous year, and these numbers tell that the tourism will remain thriving for many years to come.

Of course, the booming tourism in the city proper has greatly benefited the tourism from the outskirts, including the Wine Country. And speaking of wines, Napa Valley is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a wine tour in San Francisco.

Napa Valley is famous for its local wines, as well as its gorgeous rural landscape. Napa Valley may be about a 90-minute drive away from San Francisco but it is certainly a world away. It doesn’t mean that Napa Valley is left behind — it also has beautiful resorts, golf courses, restaurants and cafes that almost fill to the brim, exciting annual festivals, thriving arts and culture, outdoor and extreme sports, as well as a sizzling nightlife. No wonder, the wine region also enjoys booming tourism.

It is possible to enjoy wine tours and then go to a thrilling activity — such as a hot air balloon ride! Here at Balloons Above the Valley, we offer the best of both (plus more) in one package: the “San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package.”

This two-day tour from San Francisco to the Wine Country costs $847 per two guests — a reasonable rate for those who are looking to experience a piece of luxury in Napa Valley but at a budget price!

The first day of the tour begins with the transfer of guests from San Francisco to the Wine Country via a chauffeured limo bus from the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours. Inside the limo, they enjoy a Continental breakfast with a mimosa drink. Once they’re on the site, guests will be welcomed at two wineries in Napa and another two in Sonoma; a vineyard and production tour at one of the wineries will also be included. A buffet-style picnic lunch and olive oil tasting follow.

Guests can stay at any lodging that they’ve chosen, whether it is a bed and breakfast, hotels or inns in or around Napa, or a big resort.

The next day is the hot air balloon adventure! A breakfast is served — you can’t go wrong with freshly baked pastries and freshly brewed Starbucks coffee to start your day! After that, the guests will be transported to the launch site where the hot air balloons will be inflated. Once the balloons are up, the guests will be ready to board the baskets…and they’re ready for the big moment!

The balloons continue to rise until they float 1,000 to 3,000 feet above the ground. Guests will be treated to the sumptuous sights of the Napa landscape — the neat rows of vineyards and the majestic hills and mountains and the deep valleys that are greeted by the warm rays of the sunshine.

A champagne brunch follows the wonderful hot air balloon adventure. It is the perfect opportunity to talk with the other guests about that awesome flight you’ve just had! Make a toast with your newfound friends as you enjoy a fresh and yummy seasonal brunch.

If you think the fun’s over, it’s not — just yet! You have the option to do some shopping and sightseeing before going back to San Francisco via a ferry. If you choose to do so, then Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will drive you to either Oxbow Public Market or Napa Valley Outlets, before you will be transported to the Ferry Terminal in Vallejo

Balloons Above the Valley gives you more than just the average wine tour in San Francisco. It’s “San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package” is guaranteed to give guests a lot of reasons to enjoy their stay in the Napa Valley. BATV ensures that every moment spent on your day trip (or two) in Napa will be something that you won’t forget.

What to Do in Napa? Try These Suggestions

Napa Valley is not bereft of beautiful sights and delightful activities. They are so many choices that you may be led to think “What to do in Napa?” It’s pretty understandable as many of these activities bring a unique experience to guests.

If you’re particularly a lover of wines but at the same time you want something out of the usual wine tours, there are many wineries that will leave all of your senses lingering, not just the taste. Arrive in style at the Sterling Vineyards (in Calistoga) with a ride inside a cable car that offers you breathtakingly lush scenery as well as the access to its hilltop winery. As you step past the gate, you will be greeted by Mediterranean-inspired architecture with stark white stucco walls and enchanting vistas of the valley.

Even if you’re not a drinker, you or the other guests will definitely enjoy at the Sterling Vineyards as well as other wineries that offer other attractions. Some of these are their amazing art galleries and architecture. If you’re into art, you can visit many wineries in Napa that also function as galleries. These include Artesa Winery and its glass sculptures and installations (by resident artist Gordon Huether), Mumm Napa’s on-site gallery of Ansel Adams’ photographic works, Cliff Lede Vineyards’ garden bedecked with sculptures, Silverado Vineyards’ interesting vintage poster collection. You can find art even in the streets of downtown Napa as it stages a city-sponsored biannual event called Napa Art Walk, a rotating exhibition of sculptures by local and national artists; these sculptures are then assessed by a jury.

If you want a unique dining experience in Napa, you might as well board the Napa Valley Wine Train, which also serves as a restaurant. These exquisitely restored vintage Pullman railcars run along a 25-mile track which passes through several cities such as Yountville, Rutherford, and Oakville. Admire the rich interiors and the dining tables of the railcars that make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Napa Valley Wine Train serves up gourmet meals that are freshly prepared. If you want a unique dining experience in the Napa Valley Wine Train, dine in their two-storey “Vista Dome” with large, curved glass windows that allow you to see and appreciate picturesque sights of the Napa Valley while you’re having a nice gourmet lunch. Vista Dome is reservations-only areas so if you want to have the chance to dine there, book a seat in advance!

Hot air ballooning is also popular in Napa. You may have seen these colorfully-designed balloons floating high up in the blue sky. At some point, you also wish that you may be able to take a once-in-a-lifetime journey on a hot air balloon and enjoy the uninterrupted, panoramic views of the Napa Valley, particularly during sunrise.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) allows guests to have this unique experience of flying over the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape at competitive rates. BATV’s packages feature pre-flight breakfasts, an hour-long flight, and post-flight brunch with a sparkling wine. Many of the packages also offer wine tours and limo bus transportation which will take you to the vineyards and wineries. You may also request in-flight photos or champagne flutes to take with you on your airborne journey. For sure though, you most likely won’t forget to take pictures of the neat rows of grapevines and the verdant hills and mountains that surround Napa’s deep valleys. The experience of flying alone just makes you feel like you’re on top of the world! This is a one-of-a-kind experience that you will never forget!

These are only some of the suggestions whenever you ask the question “What to do in Napa Valley?” These suggested activities are considered some of the best ways to enjoy and appreciate what Napa Valley has to offer.

Napa Valley Wine Tours and a Balloon Ride, Too!

If you want something out of the usual during Napa Valley wine tours, there are plenty of options out there to make your winery visits more fun and memorable.

It is possible to enjoy wine tours and other activities even on the same day. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) makes it all possible with their hot air balloon and wine tours packages. Riding in a hot air balloon, you get to enjoy uninterrupted views of the gorgeous and picturesque Napa Valley scenery — neat rows of grapevines that seem to form giant quilts, the lush and green mountains, and hills that surround Napa’s famed valleys. Feel the cool air in the sky and the warmth of the day’s first sunshine as you float along gently with the breeze. You feel you’re almost too close to the heavens and luxuriate yourself in the peace and tranquility which you cherish every moment.

This unique experience makes hot air ballooning in Napa the perfect escape from all the hubbub happening on the ground. It is also an ideal way to release all of your stress, bad vibes, or low spirits that you’ve racked up from your everyday routine — when you go up, up in the air, you may not be aware of it but your spirits go up high as well! A hot air balloon could be therapy, too!

Special requests that you’d like to take on your journey may include in-flight photos and a champagne flute if you’d like to raise a toast while flying. Of course, you wouldn’t forget to take pictures and videos as your own personal souvenirs of your hot air balloon adventure in Napa.

Wine tours are pretty much a standard part of your holiday in Napa. Whenever you go there, a visit to at least one or a couple of wineries is almost inevitable. There, you get to visit different wineries that range from the mainstream to the under-the-radar boutique wineries. Learn the production of wines in stages from grapes to glass, and discover the differences in tastes, bouquets, etc., in Napa’s famous local red and white wines.

You can take the wine tours either before or after the hot air balloon adventure — it is up to you! Here are a couple of BATV’s hot air balloon and wine tours packages with different itineraries and rates to see which of them will suit your preferences and budget:

  1. Balloon and Wine Tour Package – $630 for two persons*
    This package starts with a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the breathtaking Napa Valley. You and the other balloon guests gather inside a hotel lobby where you can chat over freshly prepared breakfast. Then, you’re off to your hot air balloon adventure!

After the one-hour flight, you and the other guests will be led to a champagne brunch. It is the perfect opportunity to chat about how fantastic the airborne journey was.

After the hot air balloon adventure, Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will go out of its way to take you and the other guests to four to six Napa wineries. These visits include wine tasting (of course) as well as a picnic lunch at one of the wineries. Go around the vineyards in luxury, aboard one of Napa Valley Wine Country Tours’ fleet of limos and limo buses.

This package also allows you to choose to do the winery tours right after the hot air balloon adventure on the same day, OR on another day from the balloon ride while you are visiting Napa.

*This rate is available for a party of two guests. BATV also offers this package to singles, but the rates can vary.

  1. San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package – $847 for two persons**
    If you plan to visit San Francisco, why not also include a trip to the outskirts? The fact that Napa is less than a two-hour drive away from the city makes it all the more irresistible! When you decide to include a trip to the Wine Country and go on a hot air balloon journey there, BATV’s San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package would be the perfect way to spend it.

This package covers two days of wine tours, excellent Napa cuisine, endless sightseeing and comfortable and luxurious transportation.

On the first day, you and the other guests will be picked up in San Francisco by Napa Valley Wine Tours, who will then take you to the Wine Country. Visit two wineries in Napa and another two in Sonoma, have a wine and olive oil tasting, and a buffet-style picnic lunch.

The second day is the hot air balloon adventure — also complete with a pre-flight breakfast and post-flight brunch with a sparkling wine.

After that, you have the option to do shopping and sightseeing at either the Oxbow Public Market or Napa Premium Outlets before going back to San Francisco via a ferry (with free tickets). If you choose to linger, Napa Valley Country Wine Tours will pick you up in early afternoon following the brunch and will drop you off at either the two abovementioned locations. After that, you will then be transported to the Ferry Terminal in Vallejo, where you take the ferry boat back to San Francisco.

If you otherwise wish to leave Napa after enjoying your brunch, Napa Valley Country Wine Tours will directly take you to the Ferry Terminal.

Wine tours alone can make for great and enlightening experiences especially if you’re a wine lover. There are over 400 wineries in the region and the differences not only lie on their own wines, but also on other factors such as ambiance, architecture, other amenities and staff hospitality that will appeal to the guests. But Napa Valley wine tours can also be enjoyed alongside other activities, such as Balloons Above the Valley’s hot air balloon adventures, which will make your holiday in Napa richer and more rewarding.

How to Choose Among the Many Fun Things to Do in Napa Valley

Choosing any of the many fun things to do in Napa Valley is actually more complicated than it looks. Even sightseeing alone can put you into a rather knotty situation on which wineries, parks, and other attractive tourists spots to visit.

For sure, you won’t forget sightseeing as it is one of the must-do activities in the Wine Country. Beholding the beautiful bucolic Napa landscape and the picturesque towns and cities alone will consume much of your time. Of course, you won’t forget to take beautiful photos and videos during your leisurely walks, wherever you are in the Wine Country.

Aside from sightseeing, there are lots of things to do in Napa Valley and it’s understandable that you may have a difficult time deciding. But one thing’s for sure: many tourists never leave Napa without first visiting several wineries; it’s the number one activity to do when you’re in Napa. Whether you want to visit premium wineries, wineries that are usually off-the-radar, wineries that feature fantastic gardens and architecture, or wineries that also double as an art and photography gallery is entirely up to you. There is even the Sterling Vineyards that offers a cable car ride to their hilltop winery!

If you want to actually sample the wines, you have to look for wineries with tasting rooms. No matter which winery you choose to visit, they all offer a unique experience that you will never forget.

One of the popular things to do in Napa is to take a train, specifically a “wine train.” If you want to take food trip in Napa Valley to a whole new level, take the Napa Valley Wine Train where you are royally served with delicious gourmet meals in one of the fantastically restored vintage Pullman rail cars while they run on a 25-mile track.

If art is what you’re looking for, you’ll be surprised that Napa Valley is as much an art haven as it is a wine haven. There are wineries for art lovers, such as Artesa Winery, Turnbull Wine Cellars, Mumm Napa, Cliff Lede, and others that have galleries featuring artworks from local and internationally-renowned artists. Not only will your gustatory senses be satisfied, but so will your hankering for the arts as well.

If rest and relaxation are more of a concern, it is no doubt that Napa has a heady combination of serenely idyllic ambiance and modern comforts. There are many resorts, spas, and wellness centers that dot the Napa County. Not only is Napa’s fertile landscape fit for farming, but there are also hot springs and well-trimmed verdant golf courses. “Fun” doesn’t necessarily mean high-intensity recreation, it can also mean soothing and relaxing pleasures as well!

When you’re re-charged and re-energized, you may be looking for something with an element of thrill and discovery. If you wish for that, don’t look further out — but look up! You may see hot air balloons floating in the morning sky. You may be curious and even excited to try it!

Hot air ballooning is popular in Napa Valley, and it is even more so attainable to tourists because of the presence of wine tour packages with hot air balloon rides included. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is the pioneer of this activity, having been in the business for 40 years. It is one of the very first companies to introduce hot air ballooning in Napa Valley, so you can be sure of the company’s reputation and longevity.

BATV gives you an experience like no other — when you’re up in the sky, you’ll actually get to see things from a different perspective. Enjoy the sights of the neat rows of grapevines that look like a ribbed fabric when seen from the sky. Be amazed by the other sights of the hills, the mountains, and Napa’s deep valleys that are greeted by the morning sun. BATV’s pilot not only guides to safety and to the right pathway, he offers his flying experience and expertise, his thorough knowledge of the Napa region, and even his sense of humor to put you and the other guests at ease.

Following the one-hour flight, BATV will lead you to a sumptuous champagne brunch — a perfect opportunity for you and the other guests to talk about that wonderful flight, and to make new friends!

As you can see, these are some of the suggestions of the oh-so-many fun things to do in Napa Valley! Napa may be a small region but it is chock full of many beautiful natural sights, fun and surprises, opportunities for rest and relaxation that only await you to discover them!

Honeymoon in Napa Valley: From Early Morning to Late at Night

A honeymoon in Napa Valley is a dream of many married or about-to-be-married couples. It is not so surprising since the wine region is one of the top destinations either for romantic getaways or week-long honeymoons. Napa’s beautiful scenery alone is enough to set the romantic tone and quiet, relaxing ambiance — ideal for honeymooners who want to celebrate their new union in perfect seclusion. And they are free to choose whatever time of the day to get out of their honeymoon suite and explore the wonders of Napa Valley — day or night.

If you are planning a Napa honeymoon, you might want to start your morning on a high note. How about a sunrise hot air balloon ride? That will be a perfect start to celebrate your newly wedded life. If you decide to include a hot air balloon adventure to your itinerary, you might as well go with someone who has vast experience in this field. It’s none other than Balloons Above the Valley (BATV), the very first hot air balloon operator in Napa Valley. For over 40 years, BATV has still kept its tradition of providing exciting but safe flights while keeping its services updated to match modern times.

All BATV’s hot air balloon tour packages feature a pre-flight breakfast and a post-flight champagne brunch. The one-hour hot air balloon adventure will lead you up, up in the air, bringing you to a point that you will be able to see the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape from a bird’s eye view. The immaculately neat rows of grapevines become ribbed quilts, the trees look like small shrubs, the estates that dot the fields now appear to be toy houses, yet the mountains that flank the deep valleys remain majestic. Snap a selfie of you and your spouse together, sharing a kiss with the gorgeous and romantic Napa backdrop.

BATV also offers the standard wine tours that may take place before or after the hot air balloon adventure, depending on the tour package. For instance, if you and your spouse want to take a wine tour after the hot air balloon ride later in the day, you may take the “Sunrise Balloon Flight – Champagne Brunch – Wine Tour” package. It is a good way to sample the local wines and learn more about the process of winemaking. Or, you may visit the wineries that you personally desire.

Take your romance to the rails! The Napa Valley Wine Train allows you to take a trip back in time as you board one of the exquisitely-restored vintage railcars, which also functions as a moving restaurant. Enjoy gourmet meals as the train runs along the fields and the cities in the area.

You’re probably wanting for a romantic picnic so you’ll be happy to know that in Napa it’s not so hard to find a spot for that. Many wineries offer lovely picnic areas, such as Bell Wine Cellars, Pine Ridge Vineyards, Louis Martini, Charles Krug, or V. Sattui Winery, to name a few. These places are often secluded where you and your loved one can enjoy a toast, packed lunch, and of course, each other’s company. Some pieces of advice: whenever you go to any of these wineries for a picnic, never, ever bring wine from another winery — that’s a no-no! And always remember: leave no traces before you leave.

Pampering is something that you and your new spouse really deserve: after all the pre-wedding up to the reception, they may have left you high-strung and stressed. Nothing completes a honeymoon like going to a spa to have a much-needed massage or luxuriate in a mud bath while enjoying each other’s company. Check out the many resorts, spas, and wellness centers in Napa that offer a couples package!

Cap your day’s worth of touring around Napa by going to nightclubs, watching concerts or catching live plays, or having a romantic dinner. You may also visit wineries that are open even after 5 PM, such as Capp Heritage Vineyards, John Anthony Vineyards, St. Clair Brown Winery, Romeo Vineyards and Cellars, and Girard Winery, to name a few. Or share a late night together at several cafes in Napa that — sharing a romantic meal doesn’t have to be at a fancy restaurant, right?

Your honeymoon in Napa Valley will be surely full of activities that will enrich your experiences and help strengthen your bond as a newly married couple.

Can You Really Enjoy a Balloon Ride with Napa Wine Tour Packages?

There are a lot Napa wine tour packages designed to beckon more tourists to the California wine region. Tourists now have the chance to choose from several different wine tour package options. Apart from the standard wine tours, tour companies are also offering other activities that are guaranteed to make your stay in Napa memorable.

A lot of the tour packages in Napa will offer leisurely transportation that will take tourists to different sites of the Napa Valley. One of them is a train ride from the Napa Valley Wine Train where guests are treated to a gourmet meal inside the vintage rail cars as they take you to wine tours not only in Napa but also in Sonoma County.

If you wish for something more exciting from your Napa tours, you may want to include other activities such as a hot air balloon ride. If you don’t think that a hot air balloon ride is included as part of wine tour package in Napa, think again! It is possible because Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) will grant your wish of flying over the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape. Most of BATV’s tour packages include a hot air balloon ride and wine tours together.

For instance, BATV mostly offers wine tour packages that combine the standard wine tours and the hot air balloon rides, while a few consists of the hot air adventure alone. Anyway, if you are craving both activities, BATV offers you the following specific packages:

  1. Sunrise Balloon Flight – Champagne Brunch – Wine Tour
    For only $315 per person, guests will wake up to the pre-flight breakfast treat before being driven to the hot air balloon launching site. Once the balloons are done inflating, they’re off to an airborne adventure for one hour. After the flight, guests will be led to the champagne brunch. It is then followed by a six-hour wine tour where guests will get to visit four to six premium wineries, and Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will go accompany the tourists to the select wineries with their fleet of limousines.
  2. San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package
    This package will set you back at $847 per two people, but the experience will be definitely worth the cost! For two days, guests coming from San Francisco will be transported to the enchanting rural charm of the Wine Country and will experience the sights, tastes, and sensation of what the region can offer.

The first day consists of tours from San Francisco to the Wine Country. Guests will be transported to the city to the wine region on a limo bus, courtesy of Napa Valley Wine Country Tours, where they enjoy an onboard breakfast with Mimosa. Most of the activity focuses on visits to wineries in Napa and Sonoma, olive oil tasting, and a lovely buffet-style picnic lunch at one of the wineries.

The second day will be your hot air balloon adventure, complete with the pre-flight breakfast and the post-flight champagne brunch. After that, you will have the option to do some shopping or sightseeing before leaving back to San Francisco via a ferry. If you elect to do that, Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will drop you off either at Oxbow Public Market or The Napa Valley Premium Outlets.

A lot of people may not have realized that a hot air balloon flight over the beautiful Napa Valley landscape during sunrise and wine tours can be enjoyed in one package. Thanks to Balloons Above the Valley’s Napa wine tour packages, wine tours are made even more exciting, fulfilling, fun, and memorable.

Budgeting for Vacations in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is known for its well-maintained fields of grapevines, lush hills, mild climate, and of course its world-class wines. About 3 million people visit for vacations in Napa Valley yearly for wine tours, to sample and enjoy its local cuisine, and to enjoy other activities such as outdoor sports, festivals, as well as its rich arts and culture.

However, Napa Valley is also notorious for being expensive. Wineries, hotels and restaurants often have skyrocketing rates. A day in Napa could set you back about $230! But despite that, it is not impossible to enjoy a holiday in Napa Valley on the (relative) cheap, but you do have to be resourceful, wise, patient, and diligent. Yes, it can take some work, but if you take the time, you may be able to score great deals like discounts, coupons, and budget-friendly tour packages.

One of the challenging things to do in Napa Valley is to find a place to stay. The average cost for a hotel in Napa is about $175 per night, those with the most basic options will set you back $99 (before taxes). That’s a lot for a solo traveler or even for a vacationing pair! However, if you are diligent enough, you can find a cheaper stay, especially in downtown Napa. If you want to cut back on accommodation costs, the best option is to use Couchsurfing, a website which helps you get in touch with Napa locals who offer you a room for free or for a fraction of a cost of most hotels in the region. Couchsurfing is recommended especially for solo travelers who are looking for a relatively cheap and decent place to stay.

Airbnb is also a popular option, especially for budget travelers. Luckily, you can find Napa listings on Airbnb. And if you’re lucky, you can find a decent private room for as low as $65.

Restaurants in Napa Valley, like the wineries, are not easy on the wallet! Of course, there are ways to survive in Napa while having a decent and filling meal. For one, check out the Oxbow Public Market where you can buy relatively affordable artisanal goodies. It also features eateries where you can score delicious meals on a budget. For instance, Gott’s Roadside serves yummy burgers for only about $8, while Ad Hoc Addendum (by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller) serves up food truck-style fried chicken, plus sides, for only $15. Or buy produce from several markets in the region and cook your own food.

Now, the wine visits — rates of the tasting rooms can go really up especially during peak season. Many wineries could set you back $50 per head. But don’t worry, you still can score relatively cheap wine tours if you are being resourceful. You can even enjoy wine visits for just $15 or even $10 per head, or score two tastings for the price of one! Visit the Napa Valley Welcome Center — it is not exactly a tourist attraction, but it is a good first stop when you land in the region and where you can score unbelievable discounts. Purchase a $30 wine tasting card from the center (or the Napa Tourist Information Center) and enjoy tastings at up to twelve different tasting rooms. The card is good for a year, so it will enable you to come back to Napa for cheap wine tastings.

Going to the Napa Valley during the off-peak season is also a good bet. During wintertime, hotels bring down their rates by as much as 40%. In addition, crowds are almost non-existent, and you won’t be faced with packed restaurants and tasting rooms.

A hot-air balloon ride will surely be one of the highlights of your Napa holiday. Enjoy uninterrupted views of well-manicured rows of grapevines, the rolling hills and the majestic mountains that flank Napa’s famous deep valleys. While a hot air balloon adventure is considered as a luxury itself, you can score that while on a budget by looking at it as part of a wine tour package.

Check out hot air balloon operators in the region that offer rides and wine tours in one package, or the hot air balloon adventure ride alone. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) has packages that combine the best of wine tours and the fun and excitement of hot air balloon rides without making a dent in your pocket. BATV’s basic package is the Sunrise Balloon Flight & Brunch. It also includes a pre-flight breakfast and a post-flight brunch with champagne, in addition to the one-hour balloon ride.

If you want to include wine tours, you can also try BATV’s “Sunrise Balloon Flight – Champagne Brunch – Wine Tour” for only $315 per person. Apart from the hot air balloon flight, enjoy visits to select wineries. If you bring someone with you and you’re staying in San Francisco, check out BATV’s “San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package” for $847 per two persons. This two-day package includes free transportation from San Francisco to the Wine Country, visits to two wineries in Napa and two and Sonoma, a buffet-style picnic lunch at one of the wineries, olive oil tasting, a sunrise hot air balloon right, a pre-flight breakfast and post-flight champagne brunch, optional shopping and sightseeing, and a transfer back to San Francisco via a ferry (with free tickets).

Vacations in Napa Valley are often seen as something that only the wealthy can afford. But look beyond the image and discover that you can really find lodging, food and wine, and fun things to do in Napa even when you’re traveling there on a budget.

BATV: Hot Air Ballooning for 40 Years

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is your hot air ballooning operator in Napa Valley, Napa County, California. From its humble beginnings, it rose majestically to become one of the best hot air balloon aviation companies in the country — just as its hot air balloons rise majestically over the lush Napa fields.

Weathering factors such as competition, trends, and changing preferences from the clients, BATV is still flying high after 40 years — and counting.

Tracing back to BATV’s roots in 1976, it was borne out of an idea by a man named Bob Barbarick who envisioned a completely different level of entertaining guests through leisurely hot air balloon flights over Napa Valley. His own ideas that hot air balloons would be a major attraction in the world-renowned California wine region would be materialized. And the realization of his dreams has become much bigger than he thought: hot air balloons have now become an iconic presence in Napa Valley.

BATV would not be there up to now — and would not have established its reputation as the premier hot air balloon company in North California — if not for its painstaking attention to detail, high-quality aircraft, experienced and licensed pilots, high safety standards, and reputable customer-oriented service. BATV’s commitment to excellence has helped the company maintain its prominence in the hot air balloon industry in Napa.

It’s also worth mentioning about BATV’s popular hot air balloon and wine tours packages that give the majority of Napa tourists the chance to experience the luxury that they can afford.

The overwhelmingly positive testimonials from our clients, and the latest commendation from TripAdvisor via the “Certificate of Excellence,” are the major reasons for us to keep going for the past 40 years. And because we know we just cannot rest on our laurels, so to speak, there’s always room for us to improve and to grow, all in the name of giving you continuously high-quality service that you deserve.

It is certainly a pleasure and honor for all of us from Balloons Above the Valley to provide a unique experience during a visit to Napa Valley, that our guests will certainly remember for a lifetime. Giving our guests safety and rewarding, memorable experience has been our top priority since day one, and that will undoubtedly remain our top priority for another 40 years of hot air ballooning to come!

Wine Tour San Francisco: They’re Not All Alike

Tour packages are great incentives to beckon more tourists to the California Wine Country. A wine tour San Francisco package is a good start for those who want to visit viticultural areas nearby the city such as the Napa Valley.

Although Napa Valley can be quite expensive, these wine tour packages will attract more tourists to the region. One thing’s for sure about wine tours in San Francisco: all of them are not the same. So you’ll experience different itineraries, perks, and surprises that await you from each tour.

Sure, you pay for a wine tour and go to awesome wineries. But when you choose Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) and its “San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package,” you will be able to take pleasure in our world-class hot air balloon flights plus wine tours, for two days.

One of the great things about BATV’s “San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package” is the convenience you’ll experience. If you are living or vacationing in San Francisco and want to experience a piece of the Wine Country in two days, then this package is just perfect!

On day one, Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will go out of its way to chauffeur you from San Francisco to the Wine Country. As you leave the city, enjoy an onboard breakfast and a “mimosa” inside the limo bus. Visit four wineries — two in the Napa County and another two in Sonoma County. Discover the science and art of winemaking, and have the chance to taste their varietals at the Jacuzzi. An artisan olive oil tasting takes place at the Olive Press, and a picnic-style buffet lunch will be held at a vineyard, with the beautiful scenery at the background.

On day two, enjoy a hot air balloon adventure over the Napa Valley at sunrise! A hot and fresh pre-flight breakfast shall wake you up before you are driven to the launching site. At the site, witness the hot air balloons being inflated. Settle into the basket safely and the balloons are ready to launch!

The fact that you are slowly lifting off the ground and actually get to experience flying is already an awesome experience! And what’s more, you get to see the Napa Valley from a bird’s eye view. See the neat rows of grapevines, the deep valleys and the rolling hills far and high away from the sky!

After you touch down, a delicious brunch awaits you and the other guests to feast on, plus a sparkling wine to raise your toast for a successful hot air balloon flight!

It doesn’t end there just yet! If you prefer to do shopping and sight-seeing, Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will take you to either Oxbow Public Market or Napa Premium Outlets if you prefer, before you will be driven to the Ferry Terminal to Vallejo. Or, you will be taken to the Ferry Terminal right after the post-flight brunch. The ferry tickets are provided for by BATV.

If you have to choose a wine tour San Francisco, you might as well choose the Balloon Above the Valley’s “San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package” and your California Wine Country holiday will never be the same again!

What to Pack for a Honeymoon in Napa Valley

The reality of packing up for a honeymoon in Napa Valley is that it doesn’t sound romantic at all. But hey, you want your honeymoon in the Wine Country to be perfect, something which you will definitely remember for a lifetime.

You want to make your Napa honeymoon as smooth and as hassle-free as possible, so when you plan it before or after the wedding, make a list of the essential items (and then some).

Aside from the proper travel identification and health insurance documents, especially when you’re flying from another country, you also need to bring cash and/or credit cards, tourist or hotel contact information, transportation tickets, and a list of emergency contacts.

Toiletries are definitely not to be forgotten. You want to keep yourself clean, looking good, and smelling as fresh as possible even when you’re haggard or jet-lagged. Bring any of the following: napkins, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, hair comb and/or brush, hair ties, shampoo, conditioner, makeup, sunscreen, lotion, and some other things that might have slipped out of your mind.

Today’s technology definitely enhances our activities when traveling. When packing for a Napa holiday, be sure not to forget any of these technology essentials: a smartphone, an iPad (or an Android tablet or an e-reader), their corresponding chargers, power banks, camera, or an action camera (like a Go-Pro), adapters, and electrical converters.

It’s also good to have a carry-on day bag with you as you will leave your luggage in the hotel suite. This bag will carry the essential things you’ll need on a day trip or on wine tours, such as cash and/or credit card, a smart phone, hand sanitizer, a comb, or lip balm. Napa Valley has also gained popularity as a spot for hiking and other outdoor sports. So if you and your new spouse are both sporty and like to explore the region’s pretty-looking hiking trails, you should carry a backpack and outdoor essentials such as a sunscreen, an insect repellent, a mat, a bottle of water, and some munchies to get you through the day. You should also wear your best hiking shoes or boots to protect your feet against possible rocky or muddy trails.

And last but not least; clothes are one of an essential items you should carry. The type of clothes that you will carry depends on the weather of your intended destination. Napa Valley has a Mediterranean-type climate, which is characterized by warm, sunny summers and relatively mild winters. However, the region may experience swings in daytime temperature in those seasons. So the best bet is to carry comfortable light clothes and some thick clothing (such as sweaters and cardigans).

Since the chunk of your activities in Napa Valley consists of wine tours and wine tastings, you can expect to do a lot of walking. Many wineries have tasting rooms that require you to stand. Plus, these tours would last from over an hour or two, and a lot of walking and standing could make your feet sore. That’s why it’s important that you should wear comfortable closed shoes, flats or wedges to keep your feet safe and comfortable.

Early mornings are always cool in Napa, no matter the season. Sometimes, it can feel like it’s freezing cold. If you plan to have a sunrise hot air balloon ride with Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) remember you have to wear the right clothing because really, it’s quite cold up there. You will want to dress in layers of clothing to ward off the coolness brought by the early morning breeze. It’s also important to wear only closed and flat shoes that will keep your feet from possible minor injuries, and make climbing in and out of the hot air balloon basket much easier. Could you possibly do that when you’re wearing high heels?

Carrying the things that you need will lead to an enjoyable and fuss-free honeymoon in Napa Valley. Remember to wear the right attire when you are going for a hot air balloon adventure with Balloons Above the Valley so that it will make your airborne journey trouble-free, relaxing, fun, and memorable.

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We are eager to assist you. Feel free to contact us with any question at 800.464.6824