Staff Photographers Joey and Patrick Risberg describe their Hot Air Ballooning Adventure in Napa, California and share some photos…
At 5am we left Marin and drove up the 101 towards our air balloon ride over the vineyards of Napa Valley. It was still dark out when we got to the Domaine Chandon to meet up with the rest of the sleepy eyed adventurers. We climbed into a van and rode to the launching point as sunlight was beginning to shed light on the valley. The air balloons baskets were laying on their side when we rolled up to the launching field, enormous spheres of color that made us second guess whether we had missed our alarm and were still in bed dreaming.
We climbed into the basket as it was laid horizontally on the ground and looked up as our pilot shot a 10 foot flame into the balloon that soon lifted us vertical and then into the air. One of the workers dogs chased after the balloon as we floated higher and higher into the clear skies.”There’s San Francisco!” Our pilot yelled as he pointed at the distant skyline. I thought back to all the balloons that had slipped out of my hand as a child, thinking how this must be what they were seeing as they floated up into space. We flew about 6 miles total before we landed on a farmers hill and began deflating the massive balloon. After a nice mimosa breakfast back at the winery, we drove to Napa Valley Bike Tours and rented a couple bikes to see the sunny valley from the ground perspective. It’s such a beautiful region that its amazing to view it from any perspective but Up was definitely a experience of a lifetime.
Under 2 hours from Sacramento
1.5 hours from San Francisco
Under 9 hours from Los Angeles
Domaine Chandon Winery
1 California Drive
Yountville, CA 94599
Click to learn more about the awesome Napa Valley Balloons Inc.