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Napa Valley Aloft Provides an Uplifting Way to Experience Wine Country

By Pamela Sosnowski

Most visitors to Napa Valley come for the local wine, but the Kimball family of Napa Valley Aloft would no doubt argue that viewing the beautiful landscape from a hot air balloon is the best way to experience the region. For forty years they've been giving tourists rides that are truly an uplifting experience, as riders take in the breathtaking views just as the early morning sun is illuminating the area's mountain regions and grapevines.

"There really is no better way to experience the magnificence of the valley than from the vantage point of a hot air balloon," says Cami Tercovich. "As we rise above the valley floor, panoramic views open up of the Napa Valley wine growing region. To the north the majestic Mt. St. Helena, to the west the Mayacamas range, and the east the sculptured terrain of the Vacas. With favorable winds aloft the balloons can climb to higher altitudes where we may catch a glimpse of the San Francisco skyline and even the majestic Sierras to the east."

Napa Valley Aloft is a family-operated business, and a passion for hot air ballooning is shared by all of its members. Jay Kimball started the company in 1976, one of the first in the area to offer hot air balloon rides. Today, he runs the business with his children (Jayson, Jared, and Gretchen), all of whom are hot air balloon pilots.

"Jay Kimball was one of the first pioneers of commercial ballooning in Napa Valley and all will agree that Jay took ballooning to 'new heights,'" says Tercovich. "The Kimball Family loves Napa Valley and enjoys sharing their stories and limitless knowledge of this spectacular valley with their guests aboard the balloons."

Balloons launch from the V Marketplace grounds in Yountville, and Pope Valley if the Yountville area is too foggy. Flights begin just after dawn to take advantage of minimal winds and cooler temperatures, typically lasting for 40 minutes to an hour, depending upon the wind speed. Riders can expect their total experience to last 3-4 hours, allowing time to check-in and join the pilot afterwards for brunch at a local restaurant.

Compared to other hot air balloon companies, Napa Valley Aloft allows between 8 and 14 passengers per basket to allow more room and a more open experience riding experience. Packages for two or four passengers are also available that are suitable for special occasions such as anniversaries and marriage proposals and include champagne with a post-flight breakfast.

All Napa Valley Aloft pilots are FAA certified and equipment is inspected regularly by FAA designated repair stations. In recent years the tour company has been recognized by Zagat and Travel+Leisure, and received a Certificate of Excellence award in 2015 and 2016 by Tripadvisor.

Rides may be easily booked online at For a sightseeing experience with a sense of adventure and romance, Napa Valley Aloft delivers.

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About The Author

Pamela Sosnowski is a freelance writer, social media manager, contributor for REBEAT...

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