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Wine Country Balloons

Fulton

(110)
Wine Country Balloons logo
W

Wine Country Balloons

Fulton

(110)

Reviews (110)

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Doreen Humphreys Moldovan

20 September 2019

As part of our #2019BigAssRoadTrip, five of us flew with Scott and his crew this morning. What an awesome adventure! We were blessed with picture perfect weather and had a blast. Scott was very good with written communication and terms were clearly spelled out on the website. We'd be happy to fly again with Wine Country Balloons. More...

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David W.

27 August 2019

It was me and my girlfriends first time riding in a hot air ballon at let me tell you it's was amazing.our pilot Daniel was was very informative with a great sense of humor and never did need made us feel nervous about his piloting. I would definitely recommend this company for hot air ballon rides The only thing I can see people having a problem with(which I didn't ) is them not having enough man power to take down the air balloon so you have to wait a lil bit, but over all had a great experience helping Daniel and his crew More...

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Sarah W.

29 June 2019

It was our fourth attempt (weather limitations previously) and the flight was spectacular.  The pilot Scott had a great sense of humor and kept us laughing as we floated above Sonoma county. The groupon was perhaps the only frustrating part so if you can book directly with them. More...

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Roxy V.

12 June 2019

Bust this one off your bucket list! Licensed pilots couple humor with wonder on a whirl over wine country. Cuddling in modern baskets we took in the splendor of a perfect wine country morning. Gracefully floating above the rows of vineyards we marveled over the majestic beauty of Sonoma County. Finishing it up with a champagne toast, our host Scott was a humourous  narrator, well endowed with knowledge of the area and fascinating ballooning culture and history. The staff was hard working, on point and very friendly. Highly recommended! More...

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Phil C.

11 April 2019

Celebrated our 29 year wedding anniversary with a hot air balloon ride! Thanks to Scott we had a wonderful time, perfect weather with beautiful views. We would highly recommend the experience. Thank You More...

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Edwin F.

8 April 2019

We had a great time!  The weather was beautiful that day after a few months of rain.  Michael was our pilot.  He was very knowledgeable about hot air balloons, flying, the demographics of the area; he had great humor and he made us feel comfortable during the flight.  Only issue I had was being directly under the burners.  The heat didn't bother me, that actually felt good, but there was condensation build up.  The heat of the burners caused the condensation to drip my clothing and face.  Thankful that I wore black that day because the condensation was black.  I would definitely do this again, but probably stand somewhere else next time.  In the end Scott ended the trip with a champagne toast which was very nice! More...

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Glenn O.

26 March 2019

We had an absolutely fabulous time! Scott has a very dry sense of humor which I appreciate. He made the experience very fun for our family but he also obviously knows what he's doing. It was a great family outing and I would highly recommend. More...

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Mike McGregor

18 March 2019

Exceptional service and ride. A bit hard to find start location but not too bad.

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Tara A.

15 March 2019

Such a wonderful day up in the air with wine country balloons! Went above and beyond our expectations. Scott and his crew were fun and funny, professional, and also very kind. The whole experience was so memorable and we would definitely do it again given the chance. Highly recommend!!! More...

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Morgan B.

29 January 2019

We had a wonderful time with out pilot Scott flying over Santa Rosa. He had lots of interesting information about the area we were in as well as the history of hot air ballooning. We spent nearly two hours up in the air and felt very safe the whole time. The champagne toast at the end is a really nice touch and it was a great first experience. More...

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Nhu Quynh N.

10 December 2018

It was my first time in a hot air balloon and I couldn't imagine a better experience. The meeting place was easy to find with lots of parking. Also, a transportation was provided by the company to the air balloon and from the landing place. This is very convenient especially if there isn't a set place for landing. Also, they provides ear plugs! And the staff asked us if they can take pictures for us. Awesome customer service! Our pilot, Scott, was very knowledgeable, funny and friendly. He was very professional and his landing was safe. Lastly, the company gave us champagne and little chocolates to support local companies. I highly recommend Wine Country Balloons!!!!! More...

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Thea Daniels

28 November 2018

My birthday gift to myself..check..off my bucket list. My sons ages 12, 15 absolutely loved it. I felt safe, exhilarated and built a memory with my sons that will last forever! It was peaceful..and lovely. Highly recommend Wine Country Balloons for an experience to last a lifetime.! ♥️ More...

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M. F.

6 November 2018

Made a reservation with fairly short notice (just a few days).This was our first time ballooning so we were not sure what to expect.The weather was very good and the winds were calm.The basket could fit 12 but we went up with 9 people which made things very comfortable.  I had originally intended to reserve a private 2 person trip. The logistics worked out great - the meeting place was easy to find with plenty of parking.The ride lasted over an hour and was very quiet with spectacular views of the river valley to the west and the ridges to the east over which the sun rose.Our captain(Scott) and crew were attentive, professional, friendly and informative. The landing was perfect.Had I read yelp before booking, I may not have chosen Wine Country Balloons - the common denominator of negativity seems to be Group-On. More...

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Richard G.

5 November 2018

Wonderful trip! Wonderful pilot! Epic adventure. We had a blast celebrating a birthday up in the air. The other folks got engaged. Everyone had such a wonderful time! More...

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Ann H.

3 November 2018

This was an all-around fantastic experience. Professional crew, great equipment, and an awesome ride. Even the landing was superb! We had a great time and highly recommend Wine Country Balloons! More...

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Heather W.

1 November 2018

Great tour amazing pilot explains history of balloon piloting.Easy take off and landing!The crew mad it fun and we felt safe the whole way!Perfect way to celebrate as newlyweds for our Honeymoon! Highly recommend More...

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Leah I.

25 October 2018

I loved this experience with Wine Country Balloons! I went in mid-October, which is a lovely season in the wine country. The pilots and ground crew were welcoming and obviously very competent. The scenery was breath-taking. It's true that the pilots and ground crew allow paying guests to help with set up. I didn't feel in any way pressured. I found the process of inflating the balloons to be fascinating. The day I went, the time aloft was right at an hour. (I imagine it can vary depending on wind, but our pilot- Michael- changed our flight's altitude repeatedly so as to prevent us from going too fast or slow.) I'm a bit baffled by complaints about "having to" tip. Yes, ballooning is expansive, but tipping is typical for tour guides, horse back rides, etc.  This isn't out of the ordinary. I would definitely book with Wine Country Balloons again! More...

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Lucy M.

2 October 2018

I can't recommend Wine Country Balloons enough! I was cautious about purchasing our balloon trip after reading all the negative reviews, but after our experience I think some people just choose to be unhappy. Scott sent an email in advance giving us detailed instructions on where to meet and what to expect. We met at 6am at Kaffe Mocha (where champagne was served by our pilots after the flight), but walked over to Starbucks (across the street) to grab some coffee before our flight. From Starbucks we were picked up by the bus who took us to our launch site. Along the way Scott explained why we were flying in the AM (something to do with the cool morning air allowing the hot air trapped in the balloon to do it's job easier) and he gave us a brief overview of what to expect. When we got to the launch site the crew was finishing set up (and some people even got to help the crew). Once in the air, Scott told us we'd been extremely lucky to take off from where we did (the weather apparently dictates where we can take off and land and he'd only taken off from our site, Ya-ka-ama, 10 times that year). It was just gorgeous. You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful view. there were mountains all around us and vineyards beneath us. Another company took off right before us, so we had a view of our other balloon and their three ballons as they drifted off in the direction we were headed. Unfortunately, when Scott descended we hit winds that were going in another direction and we back-tracked a bit and ended up landing right behind a vineyard. it took the trucks a while to get to us, but then they towed us to a better spot to unload (we called it a "bonus flight"). Then we got in the van and headed back for champagne. A couple of people on the flight were upset that the landing and unloading took so long, but it seems like that's just the nature of hot air ballooning-you never know where the winds will take you! I thought of it as part of the adventure :) overall I LOVED my first hot air balloon experience with this company and recommend them for future flights :) More...

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Rahmon M.

29 September 2018

Scott was very friendly and knowledgeable. He started the tour off with a great story about the history of hot air ballooning. Once we launched, we had stunning views of rolling hills filled with vineyards. The ride was very peaceful. It was a great first flight. I'm excited to go back for another! More...

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Jennifer F.

28 September 2018

My boyfriend bought us tickets to go hot air ballooning as a gift for my birthday.  He booked our ride for Labor Day weekend.  Booking was really easy to do and they told us where to meet.  We met at Kaffe Mocha & Grille at the specified time (I think it was about 6am) and filled out the waiver paperwork.  Then walked over to Starbucks for the last bathroom stop and waited for the van to come pick us up.  The crew went and setup the balloons at the starting point while we waited to get picked up.  The pilots described what the day would be like when we were all on the bus and that we would be in two balloons for the day, each had several passenger compartments which would hold 4 people per compartment.    The staff and crew were friendly and entertaining throughout the day.  Our pilot, Michael Vargas, was great about describing to us the science behind the different levels of air that we would be traveling through and told us about how he can control the up & down of the balloon, which is how they (the pilots) find the level of air with wind traveling in the intended direction.  He also told us the stories of the history of ballooning.  We got lucky with weather, it was beautiful out and the views of Windsor were really pretty, especially with the sunrise.  I had bundled up that day, thinking I would be cold, but the heat from the gas in the balloon provided plenty of warmth.  The ride was such a great experience, and when we returned to Kaffe Mocha, the staff had a champagne toast for us before leaving for the day.  The only thing that wasn't clear about the whole experience was that my boyfriend had planned to buy a Groupon, but was told by staff that if he purchased directly through them that the tip would be included in the cost, and on the day of the ride we were encouraged to tip the crew - the tip basket was at the front of the cafe, so they see who is tipping or not since everyone is sitting in the same area - it didn't feel like tip had been included on the day of, based on the encouragements of tipping.  Either way, the overall experience was great and we would use this company again. More...

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Ross H.

16 September 2018

Fantastic early morning flight over wine country. Really genuine & friendly staff. They went out of their way to make our 6 year old feel welcome, to the extent that he said "I want to live in a hot air balloon"

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Scott G.

3 September 2018

We lucked out with perfect weather and had a very enjoyable ride. The staff was courteous and took time to take photos of the different guests with their own phones. Only ding was not enough seats on the shuttle after and had to stand. We'd go again. More...

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Monica T.

8 August 2018

Scott and Dominic were amazing! My girlfriend and I booked our ride for her birthday. It was her first experience and my second time. It was the first time for both of us, with this company. It was fun being able to help out and learn about the entire process (something I missed out on with a different company, in Napa.) Scott was extremely accommodating. He made sure to give us a history on the landscape, the area, his background and made time to get to know us. We toasted with some lovely bubbly, when we arrived gently and safely back on Earth. The fun continued as we had an invitation to learn more about the world of ballooning, opportunities to pilot for him and festivals across the Nation. Dominic stayed on the ground and took some great shots of us during our departure and arrival and then forwarded them to us. If you are considering signing up for this experience, I would highly recommend calling Scott. More...

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Rose Ann Maffeo Fraumeni

17 June 2018

Our pilot Ryan was fabulous. Friendly, knowledgeable, fun and efficient. Loved this experience.

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Violet W.

14 June 2018

Up up and away! My boyfriend got me a hot air balloon ride for Christmas last year and he booked our ride for Sunday May 6th. Booking was easy, he called and spoke to an employee and we were able to get a reservation for the date we wanted right away. Check-in is at the cafe (where you'll get a champagne toast afterwards) and then they ask you to go across the street to the Starbucks to wait for everyone to arrive. We were all bussed to the airport then passengers are asked to help inflate the balloon. My boyfriend helped and he enjoyed being able to do so, I think it is a nice touch to get to be hands on (: We departed at around 7:45 am and were up in the air until 8:45 am. We were the first to depart so we could see the other two air balloons lift off from the air. We passed by downtown Santa Rosa and was able to see different views of the area. The pilot explained that due to the weather and wind, you get different scenery every time you fly. I enjoyed being spontaneous--we even landed in a random field and our basket tipped over. Overall the pilot was informative and friendly, the experience was fun and enjoyable. I'm glad my boyfriend checked off a item off my bucket list More...

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Sam Natividad

2 June 2018

It was a great experience for my first time I would do it again!!! #Loveit�

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Karmann Robbins

20 May 2018

It was amazing & my first time on an hot air balloon. Thank you Scott for this exciting journey. �

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Judit S.

19 May 2018

We had a great trip. Everyone was very nice, helpful and extremely professional. They explain you a little bit about the area and different actives you can do around. They joke and make everything enjoyable. We highly recommend them! More...

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Ada N.

23 April 2018

I came here on a Saturday morning, it was a beautiful day so we were able to fly! I came here once before but it was too cloudy so they had to cancel. This very understandable. Safety is everything when you're on a hot air balloon. We met at Kaffe Mocha to check in then walked to Starbucks. From there they shuttle you to the spot where they take off. Scott and his staff were all very very nice, they help take pictures for us and made me feel safe. I was actually very scared but they seemed like they knew what they were doing. When you're in the air it's pretty quiet until they blast the fire into the balloon, and that's actually very hot i kept feeling like my hair was going to burn off. It was over a relaxing ride.After the ride, everyone pitched in to help pack up the balloon and it was funny because they just landed in someone's yard, apparently it's a random house. It took about 20-30 mine to pack up and pick up the second group of people. Then we went back to Kaffe Mocha and they gave us complimentary champagne. Everyone was very kind ! More...

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Taci Ray

10 April 2018

The sites of Sonoma County never looked so beautiful other than looking at it from the view of the hot air balloon. The flew High, we flew low, we flew through clouds, we landed in a field, and it was the greatest experience ever! Thank you pilot Scott for the unimaginable ride!!! #tacisviewofhappiness #getoffyourbuttanddosomething More...

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Reta G.

3 April 2018

What an amazing experience! To anyone who is a little hesitant about flying, please choose Wine Country Balloons! Christine was professional and helpful over the phone, she answered all my questions and we even saved a couple bucks booking directly through them instead of Groupon. Scott the pilot was so great. He is super knowledgeable and apparently has been doing this for many years. He put my fears as ease and I loved every second of the beautiful ride! More...

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Mike M.

3 April 2018

Our flight with Wine Country Balloons was fantastic in every way. The booking process was straight forward, and much useful information is provided upon booking. Scott, the chief pilot, and his crew made us feel right at home which was much appreciated, especially because my girlfriend and I aren't particularly fond of heights! The balloon ride was a truly wonderful experience, and Sonoma's amazing views are really something to see. Scott was so entertaining, providing us a complete history of ballooning and some great stories from his many years of experience. The champagne toast was the perfect way to top the morning off. Will recommend Wine Country Balloons to anyone thinking about booking a flight over wine country! More...

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Jim Housley

13 March 2018

Scott and crew are really great. Scott worked very hard to ensure that we were able to fly since we were out visiting from Boston. He kept moving us to the next day's flight list as fog prevented previous days. His safety brief and information talk was informative in fun. They aren't kidding, you really have no real concept about being high up in the air. I highly recommend even if you might be scared of heights. More...

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Bonny J.

5 February 2018

It was my first time in a balloon, celebrating my 40th birthday, we were met with great enthusiasm as we arrived at 5:30 in the morning, which is not an easy task in itself! First off from the customer service on the telephone I was sold by what a kind and personable conversation we had, Ben was wonderful! Captain Scott is an amazing and fascinating individual with over 50 years of knowledge flying and operating balloons all over the world! It was an absolutely delightful day with many other wonderful guests as a part of our experience and I couldn't have been more pleased! Of course following the balloon ride a champagne brunch was absolutely delicious!!! More...

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Danielle H.

27 January 2018

This was so much fun.  The staff was friendly.  Our pilot was filled with interesting facts and did an awesome job of flying the balloon.  Will definitely have to do it again. More...

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Allison S.

29 November 2017

My family and I had a really fun time with our group and our pilot, Scott! If you're visiting sonoma county/wine country, put a balloon ride on your list - you won't regret it :)

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Marie J.

26 November 2017

We had an amazing time celebrating my 30th birthday. Special thanks to Michael, Scott, and Ben! Their hospitality made the entire experience very enjoyable.

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Darlene C.

17 November 2017

The ride: The balloon ride was very pleasant and exceeded my expectation! It was seriously breathtaking and I highly recommend it. We drove an hour away, met at Starbucks, we drove in a comfy van, and watched the balloon set up (so cool!). The view is so beautiful!!! Scott, the pilot, and his crew did a great job making us feel welcome and have a great experience. We learned information about ballooning. And the view is unbelievably beautiful; it was amazing! The champagne toast was also nice during breakfast (champagne included, breakfast was separate at a local restaurant). This was during late September 2017.Booking: We were placed in a non-refundable flight and was on a waitlist, which was worrisome because I wanted to fly on my birthday. Scott didn't confirm until almost 6:00 am the same morning, which I thought was a bit unprofessional (he claimed he fell asleep). Good thing, my husband and I took a risk, and drove to Santa Rosa anyway an hour before because if we waited for his text message, we wouldn't have made it in time for the meeting time at 6:30 am. Everything went well for us, and with a great ballooning experience and a beautiful view, it was overall a very pleasant experience. It is a risk, since it's non-refundable and no one controls the weather. More...

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C. M.

13 November 2017

My 83 year old Mother and I had a wonderful experience flying with Wine Country Balloons.  From start to finish, the office staff, crew and pilot were all courteous, fun and very informative.   Some of the negative reviews relating to cancellations are confusing to me.  I would much rather have a cancellation if the flight is potentially dangerous, than fly just to take my money.  While having to cancel was disappointing the first time around, I'm glad our safety was the priority. Waiver and agreement outlines very clearly what's involved and what to expect.  Our pilot, Scott was hilarious and really put my Mom at ease. She was really nervous at the beginning but by the end of the flight, was ready to go up again!  I did not deal with Groupon, because I had more freedom to schedule directly with the company and it only cost me a few dollars more to do so.  I would definitely recommend them to my friends and family.  Great flight, great memory with my Mom! More...

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Nicole P.

5 November 2017

What an amazing experience!!! The highlight of our trip here in Sonoma...the pilot and the crew were amazing and great hospitality...highly recommended...off my bucket lists... More...

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Tiffany Smylie

28 October 2017

Wonderful experience! Check it off the bucket list! Scott and the ground crew were fantastic!

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Adrianna P.

2 October 2017

I called the week of to see if they could squeeze me in last minute and luckily they had someone drop out.  The gentleman on the phone was extremely nice, he also said he would honor the Groupon price.  Great!  ***I feel like there are many negative reviews, but if you read closely most of the reviews deal with issues regarding Groupon.It's never too early to get high! Well Maybe, I live out in Oakland and you have to be in Santa Rosa at 6am.  The whole experience is about 4-5 hours.  You are actually in the air for 1 hour.  You meet at Starbucks, which is a win to get some coffee and use the bathroom before you get on the bus.  You drive about 30 minutes and stop at a general store for another bathroom break and snacks.  Another 15 minutes after that and you arrive at the take off location.  The balloons are absolutely majestic and beautiful.  You finally get up in the air around 8:30 am.  There are about 20 other people with you, you get split up in 2 different groups.  Each balloon holds about 10 people.  Although there are several other people on the hot air balloon, you never feel crowded.  You still can have your own private time and enjoy feeling like "you're the only ones one there" This activity is perfect for groups, couples, families, etc.  Scott was our guide, he was hilarious and very knowledgeable, and has been flying balloons for over 35 years.  It's a very intimate experience, Scott greeted us at Starbucks, drove us, and was our guide up in the air.  The company is very small and not many employees.  I am all about supporting our local businesses.  Being is the air is incredible, amazing, and breath taking.  Not once did I ever feel unsafe.  After the balloon ride they take you back to where you originally met, where you can eat at a cafe and they provide a complimentary glass of champagne.  A perfect way to end the whole experience.  All the workers are extremely nice and they walk around and talk to you.  I would highly recommend the hot air balloon ride.  I loved it so much, I'm going to do it again. More...

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Oleg A.

24 September 2017

It was awesome!We took off from Steelhead Park around 7am and landed over 10 miles away somewhere south of Santa Rosa an hour and a half later. The views were gorgeous. We saw wine fields, the Russian River, a Cannabis field, and lots of nice mansions. The flight was very smooth and peaceful. Scott (the pilot) was a great guide and talked to us through the entire flight about the areas that we were flying over. When we got back we had a nice lunch and a champagne toast and got to chat with the pilot and the crew. This was a small group of 9 people so the experience was well personalized. More...

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Megan Best

20 August 2017

Everything went very well and smoothly! We had to reschedule a couple of times and that was an easy stress free process and Scott was a great pilot!

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Mary L.

20 August 2017

Ok. Many of these reviews made me afraid to work with these people as many say they're too talky, unprofessional,  blah blah. This cannot be further from the truth. Our pilot, Scott, couldn't have been more awesome and professional  and our drivers to and from were fantastic. It was an incredible experience and I'd recommend them to anyone! More...

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Briana H.

26 July 2017

Proceed with caution when purchasing the Groupon deal and be aware of the return policy. There are many one star reviews, but if you read in to the content it appears that a majority of customers were disappointed with customer service, specifically abrupt cancellations. Here's my story:March came along and what do you know it, I turn one year older. It was the night before my birthday when my boyfriend said he has a surprise for me. The only hint he would give me is that I had to wake up at 5am the next morning!  (At the crack of dawn?! Sigh.) With excitement, I went to bed early. To my surprise he calls me at 10pm and tells me that the plans are cancelled. A spring day in CA can bring rain, wind, or a little sun. Well, it so happened to be that the day my boyfriend reserved a flight was a windy day. With these wind conditions, the pilot made a decision to cancel the flight as it would be a safety risk. As bummed as we were, we were ok with hearing this news. Safety is numero uno and I would rather be flying the friendly skies with a confident pilot who would descend the balloon with ease. Fast forward to June and we reserved a flight to celebrate our Anniversary. The night before our flight, we get a call. However, this time it's the pilot confirming our reservation. (Whew!!) Beyond excited, we arrive to the meet up spot at 7am. Within minutes we were shuttled to the balloon and in the basket. We slowly drift away and ascend as we overlooked vineyards, mountains, and estates. I felt at peace at 3000 ft high and 3 miles west. The experience was one that I'll forever remember and will always keep close to my heart. I suggest to you that you take the risk, buy the Groupon, and book a flight during summer months. Happy flying! More...

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Srikanth Guduru

23 July 2017

It was awesome experience.. A unforgettable memory

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Jessica V.

14 July 2017

This was a bucket list experience for sure! During the booking process, the staff was very informative. They sent us a detailed sheet of important info to read before our flight. Basically stating the morning of the flight our pilot would be in touch with us in terms of weather condition & flight status (if it's too windy, raining or foggy they cannot fly) also, they let us know our meeting spot & where/ how they transport you to launch- you do have an addition fee for ground transportation. The morning of our flight, they transported us almost an hr from our meeting spot because of the fog. Our pilot, Scott was extremely professional & informative telling us how the balloon works. The basket is actually a lot bigger than people think. Our flight had 18 people and it was still pretty roomy. Once we were in the air it was so relaxing! It felt really calm & weightless, not scary in the least bit. The view up there is incredible! You're flying right above several acres of vineyards & mountains- just gorgeous! I definitely recommend doing this because the memories will last forever! More...

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Cecilia Alcaraz

2 July 2017

Had a great experience flying a hot air balloon! Our pilot Michael kept us informed about the Santa Rosa area as we flew by it. Ended with brunch and champagne. Definitely will do it again. More...

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Megan Laramore

26 June 2017

Wine Country Balloons is an incredible experience . Scott the pilot makes the flight one to remember. All of the crew really go all out to ensure The Best balloon flight Ever!

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Christine van der Horst

26 June 2017

Great pilot and great crew! Beautiful ride - unforgettable experience!

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Eloise M.

5 May 2017

This was such an amazing experience!!! Loved every minute of it! Jeff our pilot was great!!! Thank you to all the staff!!

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Valerie P.

20 April 2017

An amazing experience! My boyfriend and I took this trip and it was so worth it. I had also read some bad reviews and was nervous but my experience was wonderful. One time our trip was cancelled due to weather, but when we finally did go up I could see how fog or weather could make it difficult to fly and land so I did not mind at all.The day we did fly was SO gorgeous. There was a little bit of fog clearing over the valley and it looked like a painting. You don't feel any sensation of wind or movement so I didn't feel afraid at all even though I'm a bit afraid of heights. The captain was funny and gave some history about hot air ballooning and the whole group had a champagne toast afterwards, a hot air balloon tradition! After that amazing experience we went wine tasting in Sonoma. An amazing day, worth the wait if you have to reschedule and the company was very friendly and easy to work with to reschedule. More...

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Yuse F.

15 April 2017

Amazing experience and wonderful memories. You will have to wake up early but well worth it. The pilot (Scott) was funny, witty, and entertaining. He definitely makes the adventure that much more unforgettable. Highly recommend well worth the money invested. More...

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Leanna H.

25 March 2017

Incredible experience. Very professional and well organized crew. Felt very safe the entire time and views are amazing! Highly recommend.

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Paula Stapleton

13 March 2017

We had a wonderful experience. This was my first balloon ride. Scott was our pilot. Both he and the crew were very professional. The weather was beautiful and we could see for miles. Would definitely do it again. More...

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Denise Sanford Mirka

28 December 2016

This experience is well worth it! There were three in our group and this was a bucket list item for each of us. Our beautiful balloon was Bliss, the pilot was Scott, and crew were Ben, Dominic, and Mike. Scott was wonderful... Informative as well as funny, which made the event even more pleasant. Everyone on the crew was professional and super nice. There is simply nothing like the ride - so peaceful and quiet! Highly recommend you choose Wine Country Balloons for your hot air balloon ride. More...

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Eve Smith Irwin

27 December 2016

We had a clear cool day for trouble free floating. Scott our pilot was funny, personable and informative, along with being highly skilled. Ben, Dominic and Mike were our amazing ground crew. Being from FL we opted to pay full fare in case we had to cancel-the experience is worth the price. Our balloon was Bliss and she was as colourful as you would expect. All around we loved the entire adventure! More...

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Barbara R.

22 October 2016

Ben, Michael, and  the crew are super nice and are determined to provide a beautiful, enjoyable, and safe unique experience. They are great hosts and we loved the champagne brunch afterwards. We live in wine country and highly recommend this one of a kind experience! More...

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Lesley A.

22 October 2016

Went on my first flight today - and it was amazing and worth every penny. The meeting spot was easy to find and the crew greeting us were extremely friendly and gave us all the information needed for the morning. After a short drive to our launch spot, we watched (some helped!) them inflate the balloons and after about 20 minutes or so we were up in the air. Our pilot was super courteous, knowledgeable of the area, and clearly experienced. The ground support staff were helpful, offering to take pictures when we in the basket, helping us in/out of the balloon and their quirky humor wasn't overwhelming. There is plenty of room in the basket and the views are spectacular. Our flight was about 60 minutes and the landing was smooth. They shuttled us back to our meeting place and we had a champagne toast - you can tell the pilots, owners, and crew love what they do. It was a great experience. More...

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Penny Mongpetch DeCelle

20 October 2016

The ride was really peaceful and calm. The weather was great and staff was very professional. We got to watch the balloon being filled and ready for launch, and we landed in the middle of a dairy farm. Got to see some milking cows up close! Super fun, and very memorable! More...

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JeanPaul Martinez

10 October 2016

The customer services is excellent and they make it an unforgettable experience

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John B.

19 September 2016

I read a lot of hater reviews on Wine Country Balloons AFTER purchasing a Groupon deal. I'm glad I read them afterwards because I may have not booked the trip otherwise.My wife has always wanted to do a balloon ride as one of her many bucket list items, so we booked this in order to celebrate our 3 month anniversary of getting married. I always thought they were pretty cool, but never wanted to spend the $300 per person in order to take flight. When we found the deal for $179 per person plus a 20% Groupon discount, I couldn't pass this up.We received a call the morning of to confirm we were on the way which we were indeed. They have you park at the Kaffe Mocha and Grill, then walk across the street to Starbucks to use the potty and get some coffee while waiting for the shuttle that will take you to the launching area. At first it doesn't make sense but then it does once you realize the parking lot for this area is much larger than Starbucks and since everything is closed, you're not taking up any needed parking spaces.We arrived at the launch site just a few exits up the road. It was really interesting to observe how they inflate these large nylon sacks. The large baskets can fit 16 people. We got lucky and only had about 10 in ours which meant we had our own little divided area. Otherwise be prepared to get very cozy with another couple in the same "slot" as you are in.Once everything was inflated we took flight. The interesting thing about ballooning, once you're off the ground, you just float. There's no sensation of speed regardless of whether you're 5 feet off the ground, or 3,000. It's a pretty amazing experience. The views are out of this world. You move so slowly, unlike a helicopter flight, you are able to take everything in as you sail on by.After maybe about an hour of floating around, grazing wine grapes and oak trees, then ascending back up into the sky, we began our decent towards the outskirts of the airport. Yes, the flight was way too short. They told us to be prepared for about a 3-5 adventure total including getting to the site, inflation, flight time, deflation, and the return trip back. It ended up being about 3 hours exactly with one hour of that being flight time. For $179 (or less) per person, that ain't bad. But If I were paying more, I would be disappointed.Once we arrived back at Kaffe Mocha we were sat down on the patio to enjoy our champagne toast. You had the option to purchase breakfast but they were not pushy at all. We had plans to spend our brunch at Muir's Tea Room, so we had to decline. We tipped our balloonists on the way out and bid them adieu. Check one more item off the bucket list! More...

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Angela W.

12 September 2016

Amazing experience... Smart, knowledgeable staff made us feel at ease while we enjoyed the experience and had fun!

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Nicole M.

14 August 2016

We flew this morning over Lake County, launching at about 7 am from Middletown. This was not our original plan: we expected to launch from the Santa Rosa Airport at 6 am. The 50 minute drive via tour shuttle is Plan B when low fog renders ballooning from Santa Rosa hazardous. Would I have liked earlier notice about the additional 2 hours of driving  added to our experience? Yes, of course. Our children were waking up in Grandma's house for the first time. Advance notice is always helpful. Did I expect ballooning to be completely predictable, independent of weather and terrain variations? No! Did I expect the crew to flout the obvious risk and launch in the fog? No! Did I expect courtesy in the way they delivered the news about the new route and timing? Of course. And they succeeded. If the pilot of a hot air balloon says we must either abort the flight or launch elsewhere, I am not going to assert otherwise, being a completely ignorant client. And if the pilot decides that we need to land earlier than expected, because of emergency helicopters transporting water to the Lake County fires, then I am not going to complain. Unfortunately, the three different balloons that took off within minutes of each other had dramatically different flight durations. A cantankerous rancher (who has often called the sheriff to demand that the balloons leave the air above his ranch, though neither he nor the sheriff have authority over the air space) called the balloon dispatcher to insist that the sheriff wanted the balloons to land. The 3 pilots reacted individually to this. One balloon landed after maybe 25 minutes. Another landed after perhaps 40 minutes. Ours landed after a good 60 minutes. I might've been disappointed had I ridden in the first balloon. It would've sucked to have sat in the shuttle an extra 40 minutes. They should've been transported back to the meeting spot promptly. I might've asked for a partial refund, simply because the copy on the forms alludes to an hour-long flight. But I wouldn't have been angry. I wouldn't have pouted and glared at my boyfriend to make him raise a fuss until he grumbled, "I'm going to say something. Don't look at me like I'm an idiot." Several other customers took offense at what they must've perceived as arbitrary decisions made to victimize them and pilfer their Groupon. I don't get it. Our flight was exactly what we expected it to be, considering that ballooning is full of the unexpected. Their flight, while it lasted, was the same as ours. All I can recommend is that the pilots agree beforehand or via walkie talkie so it's not glaringly obvious that the length of the flight depends on their nerve when harassed by ranchers. And that flights under 30 minutes warrant a partial refund. Our pilot, Scott, was kind and candid, answering questions and sharing facts about the topography and the history of ballooning. My husband and I felt good putting our safety in his hands. He has a tremendous flight record, and after 50,000 passengers, I'm surprised that he wasn't more curt to fussy people, like the woman who refused to move to the other side of the basket because it was too physically challenging for her to climb over. We all offered to help her, and went in her place. How did she expect to get out at the end? Or the woman who wore high heels despite the clearly worded objection to that in the contract. One last point: do not expect to waft great distances in a hot air balloon like the wizard leaving Oz. It goes 4 miles per hour, ideally, and the flight is no longer than an hour. Where did that other reviewer expect they'd whisk him away to It was great. Don't be fussy. Don't stiff the volunteers on the crew: leave a good tip. Don't forget to be amazed by the fact that you're 4,000 feet above ground in a BALLOON. More...

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Radha E.

13 August 2016

From Ben to the Pilot, this whole experience for my siblings and I was amazing. I am disabled and they accommodated me quite well compared to Up & Away (review on that later). Ben and his wife are so friendly and when we all touched down and relaxed In the cafe, the other pilots who flew the other balloons interacted with everybody and everybody who went were just as friendly. You can make fast friends there :) wonderful time and wonderful company especially when the majority of their staff are volunteers and you can tell that they absolutely love what they do! And by the way, we flew in July 2016 where the weather was perfect and everybody were in spirits! More...

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Susan J.

11 August 2016

Our pilot, Jeffrey, was a total professional. Honestly, I picked this company because of the snarky review some dude left because I WANT a pilot who won't fly if conditions are poor. In fact , due to fog, Jeff drove us 45 minutes away to fly. There were zero problems, crew had everything under control and we had a beautiful trip. More...

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VikNat K.

22 July 2016

Thank you Scott!!Me and my wife went on hot air ballon today.. Like 1 hour ago.. So amazing, and beautiful... Scott was very funny and informative.. Me and wife had a blast. One more thing completed from bucket list... Recommend this journey for everyone.. And ask for Scott to be your pilot.. More...

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Han N.

17 July 2016

Even though our flights were canceled twice, we were able to fly the third time! Safety is their top priority. It was worth the wait and many attempts. The staff are also very friendly and funny. We had a great time! Thank you More...

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Susan Mills Buzzell

15 June 2016

They were very professional. Our pilot was so friendly. Once we got up in the balloon, it was so beyond beautiful. Everyone needs to try it once. This was my fourth time up in one and it doesn't get old! More...

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Rick G.

15 June 2016

My fiancé, mom, and I flew June 12th and we had a great experience. This was my second time in a balloon and it was definitely more fun (and exciting) than the first. We were originally supposed to meet up at 6am which meant a very early start for us as we were driving up from Sunnyvale. Scott called the afternoon before and made my day by letting us know that our meet up would be moved to 7am :)We were the second group to go up that morning so the air was moving a bit more than it was in the first group's flight. There were two pilots on our balloon, Jeff and my apologies but I can't remember the other more experienced pilots name. Jeff guided our balloon around and gave us some great views of the valley. Both pilots were personable and talkative pointing out landmarks and explaining what they were doing as they piloted the balloon.The Sr pilot took over when it was time to land and after a few attempts the wind cooperated and we were able to land in a remote field. It took a bit for the support crew to find their way to us but we were having fun chatting with the other passengers while we waited.After the deflating was done Jeff drove us back to the meet up site/restaurant where we had a complimentary champagne toast(they are very generous with their champagne) and had a nice lunch before heading over to Calistoga and our favorite castle which is only about 30 minutes away.All in all a great experience and a lot of fun!Scott please reply with the other pilots name so the readers will know who he is More...

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Carmela C.

28 April 2016

We couldn't fly the first time, because it got too windy by the time we got to the airfield.  The wind kept deflating our balloons.  But, we finally got to fly the second time around, though.   The volunteers were extra sweet to help us with pictures.  Everyone went out of their way to make us happy.  I would definitely fly with them again even though I have a big fear of heights.  Overall, it was a very good experience. It wasn't scary at all. More...

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Ryan E.

27 February 2016

I just finished a balloon trip with my wife for her birthday present and we had such a blast! We had tried to go ballooning a couple years ago with a different company but the weather was assessed too challenging. That is the advantage of Wine Country ballooning that Scott and group are aggressive enough to try to fly and they do wait around to see if the flight conditions will clear up. We waited for about an hour at Starbucks and it was worth it! Fog cleared up and we could fly! The crew like Ben we so nice and had great customer service when we shifted dates for the flight. The flight was so peaceful and Scott was SO funny and sarcastic! The 19 people in the baskets all had a great time and we got to help the crew for setup and landing too :). Scott knows his piloting the best around with 40 hears experience and i think he does keep us safe but makes sure we do try to fly! We will be back for sure!! More...

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Monica R.

15 December 2015

Scott was the pilot & did a great job & was very informative. The flight was really super. Although, I wish it was a little longer, in flight, but all in all, it was pretty awesome. The ground crew, were great as well. Thanks, have fun. More...

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James A.

22 November 2015

Third time is the charm. We tried to go for my wife's birthday twice before but Mother Nature had other plans. Finally we took flight on a Sunday morning flight. There were 2 balloons that day. One with 20 people and another with 8. We were in the 8 person balloon. It was a really fun group and our pilot Michael was the ringleader. He pointed out many features and kept the banter going. As it was fall, the leaves were changing in the vineyards and it was very beautiful. Afterwards we all went to the cafe where we had plenty of champagne and Michael told us about the history of ballooning. Well worth the money and if you go I suggest asking for smaller basket and for the pilot Michael. More...

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Brenda Taatjes

19 November 2015

Everyone should go on a hot air balloon ride at least once in their life. When you go, it should be with Wine Country Balloons! Unforgettable, outstanding experience!! More...

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Rebecca O.

18 November 2015

We really enjoyed this experience, and would recommend Wine Country Balloons.  This was the first balloon flight for most of our group, and we were a little nervous about the reviews, wondering if it would be cancelled (which would be inconvenient as we are not local), etc.  We booked directly via phone, and were offered the"Groupon rate" (no refunds, but re-book for free within 6 months if flight was cancelled due to weather), or the "standard rate" (about $30 per person more, I think, and refundable if cancelled due to weather).  We took a chance and went with the "Groupon rate".  We met our group at the coffee shop specified in the email, and left fairly quickly on the bus to the launch site.  We ended up in the smaller balloon with eight passengers, plus the pilot; the other balloon had sixteen passengers, plus their pilot.  Our pilot was not Scott; I don't recall his name, but he was fantastic!  The staff (mostly volunteers) were friendly and helpful, and were happy to take photos, assist with the climb into the baskets, etc.  The flight itself was a great experience, and we all felt it was worth the (rather expensive) price.  The flight was smooth, not bumpy or jerky, and the pilot was happy to share his knowledge with us.  I think we enjoyed it more because of his willingness to teach us a bit about the process and the science behind it, and because of his obvious passion for flying.  It was a little cramped in the basket, but I don't think it would be a problem unless someone has issues with claustrophobia or occasionally bumping into other people.  The balloon ride and the van ride back would probably be hard on anyone with physical limitations, but I imagine the staff would be willing to help in any way.  I was a little turned off that we were told, as we were about to get off the bus at the launch site, that most staff are volunteers and work on tips.  First of all, the flight is fairly expensive (over $210 per person), and I would not have anticipated that it was largely run by volunteers.  Secondly, we were not told ahead of time, so we had to deal with whatever cash we happened to have on hand (although we found that there was an ATM near the coffee shop).  I think they would do better to charge more upfront and do away with the tipping. More...

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STEPHANIE R.

3 October 2015

Very friendly, knowledgeable, staff. Fantastic views and great value!! Highly recommend!

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Brian U.

20 September 2015

Scott is a really good guy. After reading the reviews here and then going to the business I have to agree that at least some of the bad reviews are not from legit customers and hopefully yelp has a way of dealing with such a thing.Scott and the shuttle driver seemed to have a great sense of humor. The company worked with us to reschedule when weather & fires prevented previous flights. Can't blame them for the weather, rather be safe than sorry. More...

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John C.

14 September 2015

The chief pilot, Scott, was very attentive to safety and called the morning of the trip to confirm the weather was acceptable and the trip was on. The attention to safety was very important to me as a frequent airline and general aviation traveler. I was nervous with the success of a trip so vulnerable to the elements. The setup and inflation and deflation and pack-away was intriguing and the crew allowed as much customer involvement as you would like. The trip was smooth and I always felt safe. Scott was terribly funny and gave a play by play of the entire trip. Although I am totally opposite him in my political views, at 1000 feet and no on-board power, I was forced to hear it anyway. All that aside, he was very entertaining and a good host. Check this one off the bucket list! (But I would do it again in a heartbeat). More...

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Melissa B.

5 September 2015

Wine Country Balloons/Sonoma Valley Balloons, a fascinating float across the Sonoma Valley Wine Country"5 of 5 starsPending reviewWhat a perspective on a positively perfect day! Serenely floating above the Sonoma Valley as the winds guided us peacefully to views of the Pacific Ocean, San Andreas fault head, Mt St Helena, lush Russian River Valley, vineyards, and all the trees, pastures, and homes beneath. A breathtaking experience left us waiting for our next Sonoma Country Balloons ride.Our licensed commercial pilot, Scott, as well as trained crew, educated us on safety in our initial phone conversation, follow up paperwork and on-sight before flight...we were a well-informed group of passengers. The basket holds a max of 25 passengers distributed into 4 sections of the basket, obviously allocated according to the pilot's opinion of a safe balance per section.For all of the balloon companies, it isn't known until the morning of, about an hour before meeting if the flight is a-go. The wind conditions and visibility determine your safety for lift-off. Your departure destination is also dependent on weather, so sometimes you take off nearer to the Sonoma airport and other times farther away...it is an adventure where you are at the will of the weather. Regardless, the company shuttle takes you from your arrival location to balloon departure site, and then returns you to your cars.If you are willing, they even let you join in to help get the balloon filled with air, and upon landing just the opposite. By the way, there is plenty of time for taking pictures and videos. At the end of the ride, we met at the Kaffe Mocha and Grill for a champagne toast, gratis of the pilot, and delicious breakfast if you choose to order.Overall, you should probably plan to wake around 5, waiting for the 5:30 call to see if weather conditions permit the day's flight, then arrival at the departure destination at 6:30. If this is a rush day for you, then we suggest you select another time...this experience is a Zen moment of your life. From wake up call to finish, you should plan around 5 morning hours with about an hour or a bit more in the air. This too can differ if the winds change while you are in the air...remember it's a balloon floating...and you are going where it goes.This was a fun, enlightening, and surprisingly calm adventure. No anxiety at all. In fact, when the balloon lifted off, it was almost unnoticeable, ever so gentle. Give Sonoma Country Balloons your reservation, they will not disappoint, and we found them to be quite accommodating, and professional.Visited September 3, 2015 More...

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A.j R.

16 August 2015

Great staff great communication. Scott the pilot is funny as a mofo and took us to see awesome views of wine country. Meetup times at 6 but Scott told us to come at 7 instead to leave a little later which was convenient for me. Want to thank these guys for a great experience! More...

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Shanon G.

31 July 2015

I think they are nice people. And it's a nice experience.  Buy directly from the company rather than get a groupon.  I believe there is so little margin for error with ballooning and it causes a lot of trips to be canceled last minute. But it's not their fault. I had 4 trips cancelled. One after driving from San Jose.  It worked out for me when they didn't have enough people the next week but suddenly they did because their trip was cancelled the day before. They had made it all the way into the basket baloon inflated ready to lift off. Wgats bad is if your Groupon expires. One couple drove from campbell and spent the night and was not be able to get their money back. But overall I had a wonderful romantic time with my boyfriend, Champagne, .  A lovely meal and a fun time in calistoga afterwards.  For me it was worth it. More...

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Lisa de Brito

5 July 2015

The staff were incredibly professional, caring, and knowledgable. Our group toured Hidden Valley & the views were spectacular. Our pilot Scott was patient with our questions and just plain fun. He could have a second career as a stand up comedian. I look forward to flying again with this fantastic group of people. More...

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Venky S.

14 June 2015

I had an awesome time. I paid through groupon and did not face any issue at all and I took the ride on a weekend. After reading a lot of negative reviews, I did not know if it was a wise decision for me to book through this guys but it was totally worth it.  And as some people mentioned, they do charge around 32$/person to take you to the site and back. I felt it was a reasonable amount and their groupon mentions that too.I don't know why these guys aren't nice to all but they were super nice to me from start to end. Thanks Scott & team. More...

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Brian N.

17 May 2015

I get stingy with a 5 star and feel for sure somebody has to EARN it. Scott, Michael, Ben, Lincoln and the rest of the team did awesome. They were on time, called to confirm, and came through with everything they said they would. When we decided to get married on a hot air balloon I had no idea what to expect. From pick up to drop off I had no complaints. Scott married us inside a balloon and Ben the photographer was awesome. More important they made it perfect for my bride. She is still smiling!! Only tip... Eat before you go. It's hard to keep to a schedule when wind and fog can toss you a curve ball. Have some patience with landing though. Balloons don't have steering wheels or landing gear. You go where the wind lets you and land where you can. Micheal (our pilot) was a gentleman the entire time too. Even when his skills were tested during landing (he knows what I mean) he always kept his cool. Thank you for the perfect wedding Wine Country Balloons! More...

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Denise G.

16 May 2015

We loved it! The guy was comical and calming at the same time.  Had s great time and felt safe!  They also provided lunch and s champaign toast after our flight.

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michelle m.

15 May 2015

My husband bought this for our anniversary!  What a great surprise!Got up this morning, met Scott and the crew!  What nice guys!We were witnesses to a couple getting married (which Scott performed the semi-private ceremony) yes, not only was he our Pilot, but also an officiate!We had beautiful weather but an eventful landing (due to the winds taking us a little off course!) we found ourselves in the field of a (thankfully) friendly neighbor!  The landing itself was NO PROBLEM, it just took a bit longer to pack up once the ground crew found us!If there were any concerns Scott may have had, he remained completely calm, so all of us "newbies" had no idea this was not "normal" to land on a hill in someone's backyard!  Come to find out, in his 30 years experience, this landing will be in his top 5! All passengers agreed that we were more pleased with an eventful landing than we would have been with a boring landing in a flat, open field!It was a GREAT day, and an extremely peaceful ride!To be honest, I had a Valium (as I hate to fly due to confined places once the door closes) but the openness of the basket is just beautiful, and there was no need for the meds!  Think I'll save it for my plane ride to Cabo!Thanks Scott!We had a GREAT day! More...

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Robert O.

14 April 2015

My wife and I went up Saturday with Michael as our pilot.....It was a fantastic trip. Scott and his entire crew were just incredible to watch and learn from about how everything about how the balloons actually work. They were very professional and we have a great champagne brunch after the flight were Scott went over the history of ballooning which was also very interesting.  In the future when we go up again it will be with this company. More...

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Dana Miller

14 February 2015

Had such a great ride! Scott was a fantastic guide! Highly recommend this!

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Danilo B.

13 November 2014

My fiancée and I are the adventurous sort and lead a maverick lifestyle, so when we were contemplating plans for our wedding, we wanted something unusual, memorable, affordable, and private. A hot air balloon wedding idea seemed like it would comply with those requirements. We thoroughly researched the possibilities and eventually settled on Wine Country Balloons. I was impressed by how quickly Capt. Scott van der Horst, Wine Country Balloons Manager and Chief Pilot, responded to my email inquiry. From the initial interaction to the actual wedding event itself, which he officiated, and the subsequent private flight we took with him, I/we found him to be consistently and thoroughly professional. I also discovered on the evening prior to our wedding via text messages that he had a delightful sense of humour and a disarmingly charming way about him that made me thoroughly at ease with him and confident that our Special Day would turn out well. Indeed, the simple wedding ceremony that he officiated and the flight itself exceeded our wildest expectations. In spite of the fact that we gave him very short notice about the date(s) that we wanted to consider for the wedding, he handled all the paperwork in a timely fashion and, as well, attended to the logistics of the wedding cake, a large customized wedding banner with our photo on it, transportation to the launch site, etc., while responding to my several emailed concerns and questions about details of the wedding day. He called us at 5:30 a.m. on the appointed morning to make sure that we were up and ready to go to the initial rendezvous location, which was the Kaffe Mocha Restaurant. At the restaurant we met his delightful ground crew, Elizabeth and Anthony, both of whom were wonderfully upbeat and enthusiastic. We had a pre-flight briefing about what to expect on the flight before we drove off to the field/pasture where the balloon was prepared for take off. While Scott, Elizabeth, and Anthony attended to these preparations, he entrusted me with his very expensive SLR camera and encouraged me to take whatever pictures or videos I wanted. When the time and the lighting was ripe, we conducted two takes of the brief 2 minute wedding ceremony. One was inside the inflated balloon itself as it lay on its side. Even with the inflation fan turned off, it remained fully inflated and provided a magical mini-chapel the inside of which was bathed in diffuse golden morning sunlight filtered through the multicolored balloon fabric. Standing inside this translucent cocoon-like enclosure was a breathtakingly meditative moment separating us from the distractions of the outside world, suspending all concerns and thoughts not related to the intimate and sacred moment at hand as Scott officiated our wedding. Scott confessed that he had never done this before, and that this was the first time he thought of experimenting with the idea of conducting a wedding ceremony inside a blown up balloon. That made our wedding ritual even more special. The ceremony was repeated once more, but this time it was conducted in the gondola while the balloon was held down by Elizabeth and Anthony as it floated several feet above the ground. There is no way to describe the elation and adrenalin rush when the balloon was released to drift upwards to about 1200 ft. The serene spectacle of the autumn colors of the valley below us were a wonder to behold as the three of us rode the gentle air currents of a sunny Sonoma County day. Scott was the consummate tour guide, holding forth with histories and explanations of what we were seeing and experiencing, cracking jokes that had my wife and I laughing throughout the flight, asking questions about our personal histories, and sharing interesting information about his own personal life and long career as a hot air balloon pilot. My wife is afraid of heights, but it never came into play because she was so thoroughly enchanted by all that was happening. My only regret about the entire experience was that it was only an hour-and-a-half long. We would have loved to stay aloft for so many hours more because of the sublime weather, the engaging company, and the astounding scenic vistas that we beheld. After our flight, we all gathered at the restaurant for a leisurely and delicious champagne brunch where we toasted our new marriage and shared our beautiful wedding cake. We have sent Scott our favorite music as well as video clips and photos of the trip that he will incorporate into a video that he will be preparing for us. Until that time, my wife and I will continue to relive this memorable event in our private recollections and in our conversations with friends and family, all of whom have been intrigued and inspired by our unique wedding adventure. I can't want to see his finished video. I know we will wear out our DVD player watching it over and over. No doubt about it, we will be br More...

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Ritwik G.

31 October 2014

I had a really great experience with this company and with the crew - Scott, Michael and Anthony. They were very professional, always quick to return my calls and emails and all together the experience was really awesome. If you read the negative reviews and decide to stay away from them, you won't know what are you missing. I was really surprised to see that people are complaining about the transportation fees (a balloon never comes back to the starting point) , cancellation (flying in bad weather can be really hazardous to the balloon and to the passengers) and timing (whether you will fly for 40 minutes or an hour or even longer depends on the wind that they can't control). I flew with my girlfriend with couple other folks on 10/29/14. Anthony arrived at our meeting spot before time and there we met Scott and other people and he drove us to the take-off point. It was amazing to see and participate in the process of making the balloon ready, then we flew over the spectacular Sonoma valley. The weather was good, clear sunny sky and mild breeze made it perfect. Through out the journey Scott told us many stories from his experience. We landed after an hour or so, the chasing crew met us at the landing site and then drove us back to the meeting point where we parked in the morning. Michael gave us a brief history about ballooning and we all ended the celebration with a champagne toast. I really couldn't expect anything more from them. Scott, Michael and Anthony - my big thanks for being so awesome, I'll look forward to fly with you again soon. More...

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MARGARET B.

22 September 2014

What a wonderful trip! Great people that care about you, your safety, and have a fun time doing it!

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deric o.

4 August 2014

My wife and I had a great time with Scott and his team. I scheduled to have the flight 2 weeks before we went and a birthday present to my wife. Unfortunately during the past month there has been heavy fog in the mornings most days and when Scott called the night before to cancel and reschedule, (as is stated on the receipt) we were a little let down but understood no one could help the weather. We rescheduled for 2 weeks later. Scott called at 5:00 am to confirm and met us as the designated place. He shuttled our group to Middle town to get some sunshine and get us in the balloon! We got there and Scott told us if anyone wanted to lend a hand while inflating the balloon we could. Now that may not be for everyone and no one had to help because had his full crew there to perform the needed duties, but I had a great time helping the crew! In fact some of the best pictures we got was of me inflating the air craft with the crew. I mean how many times in you life are you going to get a chance to do that? Well we took off and the views were breath taking. Scott had conversation at times, facts not only about ballooning, but of the area we were in. After about a little more than an hour we had in what I can only describe as a textbook landing. :) After they deflated the balloon my wife decides to joint me in helping pack the balloon back up. Once again maybe not for everyone but it was for my wife and I. We loaded up and stopped for a quick snack and bathroom break at the local deli and away we went back to Santa Rosa. Unfortunately when we returned for the champagne toast and brunch my wife and I were unable to attend to time constraints and were bummed we missed it. Overall great experience!   Thanks Scott and his crew! More...

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Crystal B.

23 June 2014

Had an amazing experience. Knowledgeable and dependable pilot. The tip advisor reviews are a more accurate portrayal of the experience. I do not understand the low rating that is given by yelp reviewers. This was a gift for my husbands birthday from booking to the champagne toast all went smoothly. More...

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Ingrid Paris

31 January 2014

Love this place and I had such a wonderful time! I definitely recommend it! The crew is very professional, very nice, people who love their job and know how to share it! :)

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Laura B.

29 December 2013

Took a ride in 2012 with Scott and crew, and thought it was a great time. Only reading negative reviews now do I realize the experience could go wrong...guess I got lucky, I dunno, but I have a lot of faith in this captain. I booked for a Saturday morning in July, and never got my date canceled or switched. We drove up to Santa Rosa, where you'll park in the lot of a strip mall, then piled into a passenger van and head out (45 min to an hour) to a wide grassy field. I would love to be able to meet there, as I get super car sick in vans, but it wasn't a huge deal. I thought being able to see the basket and balloon assembled was great. My boyfriend really got into helping hold the balloon open while they blasted the heat inside - if you're an engineer/ mechanics nerd, this is a uniquely awesome opportunity. I stood back and took pictures, and no one cared. They had more than enough help getting everything together. The flight itself was serene. There is honestly nothing like it in the world. The baskets are large and there is plenty of room to stand and look out. We didn't land in Oz, but we had a nice hour up in the air coasting over the Northern California oaks and a couple ponds. Going over the highway was honestly my favorite part. The landing was impressively soft - no old people were damaged on impact - and the deflation of the balloon was another educational feat. You learn a lot about the balloon's construction and the mechanics behind how we don't all crash and die. Scott's experience and deft hands with the balloon made me extremely confident in the safety of the whole trip. I would fly again with him anytime. One unexpected rough part was how HOT it gets in the balloon - you're right next to the burner, and I felt like I was going to ignite. Bring a jacket, blanket or hat to cover yourself from the heat. Going in July probably didn't help, as warm temps require more heat to get that balloon in the sky. One of my most (if not THE most) memorable birthday I've had. I highly recommend it. More...

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Patrick S.

21 September 2013

Wine Country BalloonsAs a paying customer I have nothing but accolades for Scott and his company, Wine Country Balloons.  I invited my wife for a balloon ride for a "big" birthday in August, 2013, and Scott and team were great to work with to plan this surprise for her.  His support staff back at the office was professional and handled the paper work expeditiously and without any issues.  They even gave me color photos to include in her birthday card!Scott is a likeable guy with a good sense of humor.  He invites people to participate in rigging the balloon for departure, setting it up, rolling it out, lighting it, and even rolling it back up again.  He gave us all the chance to dive in and both my wife and I did, it was fun!  We now have a much better appreciation for these amazing aviation pioneers (both the balloons and their pilots!).  The cost was worth every penny!  He returned calls promptly when I was "shopping around", kept us advised the day before the event with weather updates, and sent us a final "we're a go!" text the night before right when he said he would.  This guy delivers on everything he said he would.  While we were fogged-in at Santa Rosa that Sunday, he piled us all in a van and drove us to where he knew the weather would be sunny.  We could have returned the next week but there were several people who were from out-of-state and he was committed to delivering for them.  He did and we are appreciative, we had a great time!  As an added incentive, the company pays for your breakfast afterwards and you only have to pay the tip.  This is a great bonus as we could re-live the experience with our fellow ballooners and invite others to join us for a post-ride celebration!  Thanks, Scott!Patrick ShaughnessySan Francisco, CAPS:  Second time I've posted, I can see my first review below, 9/4/13, but it wasn't accepted.  So let's try this again! More...

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Ruby S.

11 February 2013

Flew early last month on a whim with some friends and one of the best decisions we've made. The pilot was very funny and informative on our flight. We had amazing weather that day and our brunch was delicious. I know weather has a factor in that business but it was perfect for us and would recommend this company for anyone who wants to hot air balloon. The crew was fabulous and loved the local feel of that area. I will be back for this summer and looking forward to another flight. Thank you for the edited DVD and customized banner for our trip!!! More...

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Kathy W.

13 June 2012

We had an amazing experience with Wine Country Balloons a few weeks ago. We met bright and early in the morning on a beautiful day in the wine country. We were able to assist the crew with the set up of the balloon, which was amazing to watch this huge balloon take shape. The crew all work very hard and really enjoy what they do. Our flight was peaceful and we had such beautiful scenery. Vineyards and the river below us. Truly stunning. Our pilot Scott was very informative and mentioned areas that we were flying over and the vineyards below. He is quite experienced and it shows. He has been a pilot for many years and he is still passionate about what he does.  It truly made our experience fabulous. We went back for a champagne brunch at a cafe and delicious food and great conversations. Thank you Scott and crew.  We are so glad that we chose your company and we will recommend you to everyone we know! More...

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Karen B.

28 September 2011

What an amazing adventure!!  Our 'pilot' Scott was friendly & informative.  His two chasers were lots of fun as well.  We had an amazingly beautiful day and our flight couldn't have been more perfect.  Our favorite part was getting to help setup & take down the balloon equipment.  We got to take off from an exclusive spot that only Wine Country Balloons has access to.  This made our flight more like we were the only ones up there - we could see all the other companies bunched together out in the distance.The champagne brunch was excellent.  The Kafe Mocha has delicious food & great servers.  My boyfriend surprised me with this trip (which was very romantic) and I have to say it was the absolute BEST trip we did all vacation long!!! More...

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John W.

12 August 2011

I've been wanting to ride in one of these balloons for years and had a blast.  it's funny, you read the negative review here and can't help but feel that Paula K had already decided she wasn't going to have the time of her life from the start.  No, we were not delivered to Eden in a shiny, new stretch limousine and, yes, the trip started pretty early in the day, and, yes, it was a long drive to the launch site... but once we were up high in the air, it was magical.  An interesting phenomenon that I wasn't expecting was that because we were traveling with the breeze, we had no sense of movement; the air was perfectly still at beyond-skyscraper heights, yet we were moving.  We could have been sailing high over any topography, Hidden Valley Lake or Paris, France at night -- and it still would have been amazing.  You do this sort of thing once in your life, so in the end what are you going to remember: the less than stellar champagne served at the little diner afterward or that for nearly an hour you got a chance to stand next to your significant other and literally soar like an eagle?  Oh, and Scott, the pilot, was not the corny, joke-telling pilot Poor Paula says he was; he was the kind of pilot who was able to focus 100% of his attention on flying the balloon and keeping us safe while at the same time creating a calm, yet light-hearted atmosphere for those of us who were just a little bit nervous. More...

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Karen Y.

11 July 2011

Can not even begin to express who much fun and how beautiful the Balloon ride was. We did the ride for my daughter's 21st birthday on June 29, 2011 and we love-love-loved it. I have a horrible fear of heights, but had read many of the other reviews saying not to worry-- they were correct. I felt zero fear or dizziness. A wonderful, wonderful experience. THANK YOU!          Karen Davis Young More...

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Richard M.

27 May 2011

Last Saturday, was the first time my friends and I took a balloon ride.  We never thought just how complicated it is too fly a balloon and just how important it is to have an experienced pilot!  Scott is an excellent pilot and very knowledgeable about the area.  He kept the mood light and fun!  When Scott was preparing to land, the wind kicked up and he had to improvise by finding a new location!  He landed us perfectly in a fenced yard that had horses and goats, nestled between vineyards!  It was fun seeing the horses follow Scott's team (Arman and Anthony) as they entered the fenced area to remove the balloon!The views from the balloon were breathtaking!  But my friends and I will agree Scott's decision to land in this yard, not only showed his expertise, but made our trip truly memorable!I highly recommend Wine Country Balloons and ask for Scott!  Also, bring a baseball cap for protection against the radiant heat. More...

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Niamh W.

24 May 2011

Had a thoroughly enjoyable balloon trip last Sunday.  Scott was an entertaining and informative pilot in whose hands we felt very safe.  Definitely recommend ballooning with Scott and Wine Country Balloons. More...

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Morris B.

18 May 2011

I originally purchased this flight for my husband's 40th birthday nine months earlier, and luckily our rescheduled date in early May worked.  We celebrated our anniversary (in addition to his belated birthday!)  We had a wonderful experience aboard Scott's balloon, assisting with the set-up and watching this enormous giant lift into the air.  The flight was tranquil and lovely, and coming down was exciting as we skimmed over some treetops before landing in a field.  The brunch afterwards was enjoyable, but I would recommend a $15/person limit (as opposed to the $10).  Overall a delightful and memorable experience.  (this was written by my wife who bought the flight) More...

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Evil d.

20 May 2010

My wife and I recently honeymooned in the Sonoma Valley and we went on a balloon ride through Wine Country Balloons and I gotta say, it was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Our pilot Scott kept everyone at ease with some good humored jokes and the ground staff (Mike and Arron I believe) were friendly and invaluable. I wasn't sure how much control you could have in a vessel that basically goes with the current of the wind, but Scott was obviously very skilled in his craft. Everyone associated with this company was polite and courteous and the ride itself is something I'll remember for a long time. More...

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Harry S.

27 April 2010

As a birthday present for my wife, I got her a hot air balloon ride. Having a skydiving background I understood the possibility of weather delaying or canceling our flight. With that in mind I was happy that our captain made every effort to get us off the ground. After a brief delay we found a fog free spot to launch from. The balloon ride itself far exceeded any expectations I had. The views were spectacular. If there are any guys out there looking for a great present for your wives I would highly recommend Wine Country Balloon. More...

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Don and Regina S.

21 July 2009

I took my fiancee (girl friend at the time) here for a romantic and quiet time. My original date was rescheduled due to weather related issues. We drove out to there meeting location at 6:00 am. They picked us up in their van. They drove us up a windy mountain to there launch site. There were a lot of horses at the site. The horses were friendly and even let us pet them. Scott (the pilot) was friendly and asked for some of the passengers to help with the set up of the hot air balloon. Once we got into the balloon it was spacious. I would recommend that you wear something to cover your head because the burners get really hot. Once you are in the air the views are beautiful and peaceful. Scott knew that I was going to ask my girl friend to marry me. I quietly passed my camera to him so he could take pictures of me asking her to marry me. She said "YES!" and Scott caught it all on camera for us. After we landed we went back to the restaurant we met them at and had some lunch. There was a discount of $10 for each of us with the hot air balloon ride. Due to weather related issues they might reschedule your flight on you. Over all it was worth the delay and the two hour trip to get there. More...

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J K.

25 March 2008

After or 5th or 6th try we finally got a chance to go on our hot air balloon ride!  The weather was beautiful with hardly any clouds in sight.  It was a little chilly so I recommend bringing a sweater/jacket.The coolest part for me was looking into people's backyards so if you're not into that, this might not be too fun for you.  Oh yeah, the views are important too!  You can see some wineries but they have to stay away from too much shrubbery for landing and safety issues I suppose.Scott who was our pilot made some jokes and kept the energy alive on a quiet tour of wine country.  He actually asked some people in the group to help and most people helped without hesitation (setting up the balloon, holding the fan to blow air into the balloon, lotsa setting up and putting away).  You also get to have a lunch on them (up to $10 a person) afterwards.  I had the BLT and I liked it.  Just a little cafe called Kal's Kaffe Mocha (it's where you're asked to meet and park before heading to the balloon take-off destination).Bring like $30 cash if you're going with another person so you can tip the volunteer chase & ground crew (they help with most of the set up since they need volunteering hours for their own pilot license), and you have to actually pay a gratuity tip at the cafe (even if you're with one party, if your entire party is I think more than 5 people, you have to pay like $8.00 for a $20 meal haha - that part people complained about).  Especially since the hot air balloon ride itself is not cheap.  I don't know exactly how much it costs because it was a gift, booked for me 2 years ago (yes and I finally got to go). More...

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