Wine tasting in California at 3,000 feet in the air
While you won’t be drinking wine at 3,000 feet in the air, Bennett Lane Winery will do its best to get you high. High up in a hot air balloon, that is. The Calistoga-based winery launched the first winery branded hot air balloon in Northern California.
The Bennett Lane Winery balloon, named Calistoga AVA-tion, was built by Kubicek Balloons in the Czech Republic. The balloon stands 67 feet high when inflated and has a diameter of 65 feet. It took over a month of sewing to create the balloon’s envelope, which measures 142,400 cubic feet, from 16,000 square feet of special ripstop polyester fabric. It also took twenty-five days of dying for the fabric to attain that special shade of grape color for the Bennett Lane logo of grape clusters.
Hot air balloon ride on bucket list
World Series Champion Manager and San Francisco Bay Area celebrity Tony La Russa was on hand for the inaugural flight. “I went up in the balloon with friends Lisa and Randy Lynch. Riding in a hot air balloon was on my bucket list,” laughed La Russa.
Bennett Lane Winery, in partnership with Calistoga Balloons, will offer standard and private flight packages for guests who would like to experience riding in the hot air balloon. Private flights in the balloon are available in either, two, four or six person options and include a limousine pickup from an up-valley hotel prior to launch, a Bennett Lane flight jacket, and brunch at The Grill at Meadowood. Also included in this package is a private reserve tasting at Bennett Lane Winery following the flight. The prices for this package are $1999, $2399 and $2899 for two, four and six people respectively.
A standard flight with a group in the hot air balloon includes a Bennett Lane flight hat, brunch at The Grill at Meadowood and a tour and tasting at Bennett Lane that includes a picnic lunch. Transportation to and from the launch site is provided; guests must provide their own transportation to the winery. This package is priced per individual and costs $339 per guest. Check the website for current prices.
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If You Go:
Bennett Lane Winery (877) 629-6272
3340 Highway 128
Calistoga, CA 94515
Winery photo and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown