Experience our Thrilling Napa Hot-Air Balloon Ride over California Wine Country
Overview: See California Wine Country from a new perspective, This must-see attraction is a once-in-a-lifetime experience: Ride a hot-air balloon over the lush vineyards of Napa Valley,
This 8-hour guided tour includes a Napa Valley hot-air balloon adventure followed by a guided tour of several wineries (of your choice) in Napa Valley Wine Country.
Whether you are a San Francisco Bay area local or visiting for business or leisure, this hot-air balloon ride is highly recommended if you are looking for an unforgettable fun ride across the beautiful Napa Valley and its vineyards. This hot-air balloon and winery experience can also be purchased as a gift for your friends and family as a unique gift for any special occasion.
Your tour guide will pick you up at approximately 06:45 in San Francisco or 06:00 if you are in Napa or Sonoma Valley (location TBD). It’s an early start but you will wake up to stunning and tranquil views of the early morning sunrise on your drive over. (Pick-up time will vary depending on the season and the sunrise schedule.)
Cancellation due to unforeseen weather conditions:
Your hot-air balloon ride will be scheduled dependent on weather conditions. Your safety is our #1 priority. Our hot-air balloon rides take place before sunrise and depending on such weather conditions, some rides may launch out of other sites: Lake County, Yolo County, Pope Valley or other surrounding counties. Please note that the hot-air balloon crew will not be able to determine whether it is safe or not to launch until a couple of hours prior to take off. Our pilot wakes up around 05:00 to analyze the wind and weather conditions and because safety is our #1 priority, we may cancel balloon rides at any time if weather conditions don’t permit to launch safely.
Typically, due to weather conditions, there is a 50% chance that the balloon ride would have to be cancelled. Our office staff will notify you around 07:00 the day prior to your hot-air balloon adventure and give you an update on the weather forecasted for the following day. If you decide to cancel with our office staff the night prior, your tour guide will pick you up at 09:00 and proceed with the wine tour as scheduled because the wine tour portion of this travel package is not refundable. If, however, you wish to proceed and take your chances, your tour guide will pick you up as scheduled (04:45 in San Francisco). Please keep in mind that we have reserved this day just for you. Only the hot-air balloon ride portion of the package is refundable and you will receive a $190 refund per person which will be credited back to you within 7 business days.
We are extremely transparent about these unforeseen weather conditions that are, unfortunately, out of our control. We do not profit from the hot-air balloon adventure itself; our goal is to stand out from the crowd as part of our philosophy to offer our valuable clients unique experiences. However, we have to cover the required extra fees to pay the pilot, our amazing team and staff who wake up early to follow up with your hot air balloon pilot’s crew even if the balloon ride is cancelled. In addition, the tour guides who volunteer for this very early departure have to wake around 03:00 and remain on duty until the pilot calls them to confirm or cancel the balloon ride. Please do not be disappointed if we are required to cancel the balloon ride at the last minute: your safety is our main concern.
Regardless of when and where we meet with the pilot and his crew to launch, the hot-air balloon flight is a truly memorable and unique wine country experience. Learn all about how we inflate the hot-air balloon with cold air from gas-powered fans before you fly up in the sky. Experience the thrills of the balloon ride as it rises up to a higher elevation giving you a bird's eye view of the picturesque mountains, the sunrise and changing lights over California Wine Country rolling hills and lush vineyards.
Book your private SUV tour today and choose the wineries you want to experience following the hot-air balloon ride. A private SUV tour allows you to combine the balloon excursion with any destination of your choice afterwards which can include a trip to Muir Woods National Monument – home of the giant redwood trees, a zip line adventure, a visit to the Jelly Belly beans factory, a wild Safari Animal Park in Sonoma County, a visit to the Old Faithful Geyser that erupts regularly located next to Calistoga petrified forest, an afternoon shopping at the Napa premium outlet, a visit to a cheese factory and/or an olive oil press in the historic Sonoma town plaza, which is the birthplace of the statehood of California. You may also take a tram-guided tour through vineyards and visit a wine cave in one of Napa or Sonoma’s famous wineries. Another option and suggestion following your hot-air balloon ride would be to travel to the coastal town of Sausalito or Tiburon and then take the ferry across the Bay back to San Francisco or schedule a tour to Alcatraz Island. These sights and additional attractions can be added onto your tour if you are not interested in wine tasting.
Finally, please don't forget to sign the hot-air balloon waiver form and hand it over to your driver.
Included in the package: A private tour (based on your choice of vehicle and tour), pick up and drop-off in San Francisco or in Sonoma/Napa Valley, a semi-private hot air balloon ride (sharing a basket with other customers which can fit up to 13 persons), complimentary breakfast in Yountville, a guided tour in Napa Valley and all applicable taxes.
The tour package is a full 8-hour trip door to door from San Francisco from approximately 04:30 to 12:30 or 05:00 to 13:00.
Not included: Gratuity for your Tour Guide, additional meals, wine tasting fees and all other optional parks (i.e monuments and/or attraction’s required fees that are added onto the tour). There is a $99.00 fee that applies for each additional hour after the regular 8-hour tour.
Napa Hot-Air Balloon Tour Itinerary
- Early morning pickup
- Drive through Napa Valley to the launch site
- Following the hot-air balloon ride
- Arrive at your drop off location
Complimentary pick-up from your hotel in San Francisco downtown, Fisherman's Wharf or anywhere in Marin County along Highway 101, or in Napa or Sonoma Valley.
Your tour guide will drive you from your pick-up location across the Golden Gate Bridge or the Bay Bridge through Marin County or Solano County to Napa Valley
Imagine an early morning of clear fresh air while watching the sun rise as you are being taken to your launch site. You’ll be driven through Napa Valley picture-perfect back roads and vineyards. Your tour guide may make a quick stop at a local coffee shop in case you want to pick up any last minute coffee or pastries before arriving at your launch site with your hot-air balloon crew.Following the hot-air balloon ride Back to Top
After the hot-air balloon ride, enjoy a complimentary breakfast in Yountville, the most elegant town in Napa Valley. The friendly pilot and his/her crew will join you and the other hot-air balloon riders for breakfast, which is a unique opportunity to interact with them and ask any questions you may have.
After breakfast, you can choose to visit any wine region and wineries of your choice (wine tasting fees are not included) in Napa or Sonoma Valley or both. Do not worry about planning the logistics to the winery; your tour guide will be in charge of the schedule..
If you would prefer to do something different than tour a winery, your tour guide can also take you on a sightseeing ride through the back roads and rolling hills of Napa Valley Wine Country. These are optional attractions that you can add on your tour – please note that all required entrances and activity fees are not included.13:00 – Arrive at your drop-off location Back to Top
Your Tour Guide will drive you back to San Francisco after a full morning of adventures and new experiences. You also have the option of going to Sausalito on your way back or returned to your hotel by your tour guide. You may also choose to stay in Sausalito and then ride the ferry back to San Francisco (tickets are not included).
We often make a photo stop at the breathtaking Marin Headlands overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay Area, at the end of the day. The Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco's most colorful and iconic monument. Because of its astonishing gigantic dimensions, the Golden Gate Bridge is the most photographed bridge in the world.Back to Top
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have never flown on a hot-air balloon before, we highly recommend reading our frequently asked questions. We want to make you feel as comfortable as possible about this new experience and also let you know that we are very experienced with the whole process, including getting the jitters..
Did you know that the hot-air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology and is a subset of balloon aircraft? It was invented and created back in 1783, in the city of Paris when the first manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes. The French called it ‘Montgolfier’ after the Montgolfier brother’s invention of what would become the hot-air balloon.Back to Top
What is a Hot-Air Balloon made of?
A balloon consists of a bag called the envelope that can hold heated air. Suspended beneath is the gondola / basket which is proven to be the most hardwearing and durable material. Inside the basket, you will find the fuel system which consists of the ‘LPG’, liquid propane gas, which supplies the burner the required power to heat the air in the envelope.
Unlike gas balloons, the envelope does not have to be sealed at the bottom since the air near the bottom of the envelope is at the same pressure as the surrounding air. In today's sport balloons, the envelope is generally made from nylon fabric and the mouth of the balloon (closest to the burner flame) is made from fire resistant material such as Nomex.
Why do I have to fly so early in the morning?
Although we need some wind to fly the hot-air balloon, we cannot fly if there is too much wind either. We fly early in the morning because that is when the winds are at their calmest. In addition, a lower ambient temperature means that it is easier to get the balloon off the ground and keep it in the air because we wouldn’t have to heat it to a high temperature. This, in turn, means we will not use as much gas and can fly for longer time and even fly over other valleys and mountains away from Napa. An additional benefit to flying early in the morning is that you get to see the beautiful sun rise on Napa Valley.
What type of clothing should I wear?
Because you are waking up very early in the morning, the early morning’s briskness might require a few layers. Please bring warm clothes or layers and gloves and a hat to protect your hair from the warm air coming from the burner. Please wear sturdy shoes as well. You can leave your extra layers and belongings in the car while you take your hot-air balloon flight.
How do you fly and steer the hot-air balloon?
The pilot maintains the balloon's altitude and steers it in the same direction as the wind. The pilot is able to steer and maneuver the balloon when it is in the air by venting, which allows the hot-air to release from the envelope (balloon) allowing it to descend (fall), and ascend (rise) when the pilot turns the burner on heat it up.
When the air in the balloon is warmer than the air outside, it rises up because the hot air inside the balloon is lighter than cool air outside. The balloon then travels slowly in the same direction of the wind, and this factor (the wind) determines the launching and landing site (location). You will either land in the middle of a vineyard or anywhere within California wine country. A typical landing spot is clear of crops, livestock, small trees, power lines or other obstructions. The pilot will be on-hand to guide you through this process, he or she will also point out sights and wineries as you fly over the lush vineyards of California wine country.
How high do you fly and how fast the balloon can go?
Regarding elevation, on an average flight, the balloon will reach a tree-top level up to the top all the surrounding peaks in California wine country.
An average Balloon usually travels 4 to 8 miles per hour (MPH) with the wind. Speed and landing will be determined by the pilot and his crew based on weather and wind conditions. The length of a balloon flight is usually determined by many factors, including the temperature and the weight carried in the basket. For this reason, customers are required to provide their exact weight. On a cold day, with only one person flying, a longer flight is possible which usually last about 30 minutes or more.
How do you inflate the hot-air balloon?
We begin by laying the basket on its side and then laying out the envelope (the balloon bit), and attaching both sides with strong wires. Then we inflate the balloon with cold air using a portable petrol-powered fan. When the envelope is almost completely inflated with cold air, we turn on the burners and begin to heat the air inside the envelope. This will help the balloon to begin to rise to an up-right position. Then we just keep heating the air until it is hot enough inside to take us up for a ride.
As the balloon team starts inflating the balloon, attaching the cables and securing the portable (gasoline powered) fans, these fans push the air into the envelope to inflate what will look like a giant balloon rising up in the sky slowly and gently. When the envelope is almost filled with cold air, the propane burner is ignited to push warm air into the envelope, when the air inside is heated enough, the balloon starts to rise to an upright position. When the pilot adds the required small amount of additional heat, the balloon will become buoyant and start rising up in the sky slowly. The inflation of the envelope (balloon) usually takes about 20 minutes before it gets off the ground to an upright position.Back to Top
How long does it take to inflate and deflate the balloon?
Once the envelope has been laid-out and the cables attached to the basket, a portable (gasoline powered) fan pushes air into the envelope. When the envelope is almost filled with cold air, the propane burner is ignited and the air inside is heated enough for the balloon to rise to an upright position. With a small amount of additional heat the balloon will become buoyant. The inflation usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes and it takes about the same amount of time to deflate and pack up the balloon after the flight.
How big is a balloon?
There are many different sizes of balloons, ranging from small balloons that are meant for one person to very large ones that can carry 20+ persons. Sports balloons average size is between 65,000 and 105,000 cubic feet and carry three to six people. When inflated, these balloons can vary in height from eighteen to twenty-seven meters and are between thirteen and eighteen meters in diameter.
Do you fly in the rain?
No, it is not very pleasant to fly in the rain. The rain cools the balloon down, adds a lot of extra weight to the balloon and due to the curved shape of the balloon, the water does not drip off, but gathers in the load tapes and runs down the sides and you get covered in a hot dirty shower.
How many people can the hot-air balloon carry?
Our largest balloon is licensed to carry up to sixteen passengers plus the pilot but it is also dependent on the total weight. Our mid-size balloon can hold up to 11 passengers and our smallest can hold up to five passengers plus the pilot. It is extremely important that you provide your exact weight for safety purposes.
We can understand how you might feel if this is your first time on a hot-air balloon as we have all been there. Please be assured that our team is well-trained and very experienced with hot-air balloon flying; we have been conducting balloon rides for over 20 years. Our pilots are licensed professionals and will take all safety precautions to ensure that the balloon ride runs smoothly and safely.
This SUV tour is totally private and the price is per person.
Price per person
|Totally Private Wine Tour |
This VAN tour is totally private and not available for public
or individual reservations. The price is per party and not per person.
|Number of Persons||Private Van Tour|
|1 - 5 Guests||$2,745.00|
|6 - 7 Guests||$3,709.00|
|8 - 10 Guests||$4,589.00|
|11 - 12 Guests||$5,389.00|
|13 - 14 Guests||$5,969.00|
Included: Pick-up and drop off in San Francisco downtown or Fisherman’ Wharf, hot-air balloon ride, complimentary breakfast, all applicable taxes, and a private 8-hour tour door to door.
Not included: The price does not include meals, driver’s gratuity, overtime, wine tasting fees and optional activities or features.