Labels Below, Landscapes Above: Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Fest

Sip samples from 32 local wineries.

Wine lovers? We'll take our chards neat, thanks.

But occasionally pairing a tasting with something that isn't consumable is just the offbeat thing. To shake things up a bit. Like the Wine, Waves, & Beyond weekend in Pismo Beach over the June 3-6 weekend. Wine + surfing. We can see it.

Wine + hot air balloons is another California classic. Temecula has been the early summer spot for this pairing for over a quarter century now, and each year the festival attracts the jazzy, rocking rockers and all the famous Temecula wineries.

Lake Skinner is once again the spot for the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival. The 2010 dates are Friday, June 4 through Sunday, June 6.

Spyro Gyra, Paul Rodgers, Gin Blossoms, and Jimmy Wayne will be on the stage. Foote Print, Longshadow Ranch, and Oak Mountain are among the 30+ vineyards that will have the rows of bottles lining the tasting tables. Art and Western hoedowning are also part of the big weekend. And of course, hot air balloons, and lots of 'em. The nighttime balloon glows attract the happy crowds. Well, they all do, really.

We've said it about this major event before -- leave a lot of time to get down. Carpool if you can. Or best make it a night in the Temecula area.

Your best best is to follow Vinnie Zinfanny on Twitter. It might be the first bunch of cowboy-hatted grapes we've ever followed before. Thinking.

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