Dates: May 19-21. The event opens at 8 a.m., on Saturday and Sunday and closes at about 11:30 p.m.
Tickets: Friday – $70 Saturday – $90 Sunday, $90. Saturday & Sunday combo tickets –$120 Note this is for general admission only; you buy tickets for wines and beers inside the festival. VIP packages are also available.
Music Stages: There are two stages, with a small one next to some wine and merchandise tents and a bigger one that’s like a concert setup to the left of the primary wine tasting area. There’s a blocked-off VIP section here and you can either stand or sit on towels or your own chairs.
What To Bring: You can bring in chairs, beach towels and even pop-up camping tents to put down at the main concert area, as well as coolers with food and water (you can’t bring in alcohol for the obvious reason they sell it at the festival). Dress comfortably! The place to put down your stuff is either in the big concert area or under the shade trees – ahhh – by the majority wine tents. Note these places are mostly taken by about noon.
Wine & Beer: You purchase tickets to buy your wine and beer. The prices are $30 for eight beverage tickets, $36 for 12 and $90 for 30. A 1-ounce tasting of wine is one ticket, a 5-ounce glass of wine is 4 tickets and a 16-ounce glass of beer is four tickets.
There are 18 wineries from the Temecula wine country pouring and a couple dozen beers.
Food & Drinks: There are food booths, beer stations and popular wine and beer food pairings. The latter cost extra and is advisable to book in advance, which you can do at this link.
Drinking Booth Hours: It’s important – very important – to know that alcohol sales are cut off each night at 9 p.m. So if you’re at a concert, the balloon glow or wherever, plan getting your last drink(s) in advance.
The Scene: It may not be quite what you expect. By that we mean it’s held not in a high-end lodge or winery, but in a big grassy field as part of the huge Lake Skinner Recreation Area. So it’s a little more “down to earth” than what you might envision for something involving wine. People also don’t really get hammered at this event like at a wine and food festival, and there two reasons for that: the wine (and beer) is not included in the ticket prices so you’re buying your drinks, and a large number of people come in during the evening just for the concerts.
The Area: The grounds are huge, so big that it could take an hour to take a leisurely stroll around the place. The wineries – all from Temecula – are lined up in booths just beyond the entrance. There’s also wine merchandize tents, then the “Wine Stage” with live music and in another area to the left, a large area of probably 100 vendors, and just beyond that the main stage.
Balloon Rides: These takes place early on Saturday and Sunday morning (check-in is at 5:30 a.m,!) and you need to book in advance. The price is $225 per person for 45 minutes-1 hour rides, with a mimosa. There’s free “tethered” rides – the balloons get approximately 75 feet in the air – at the grounds from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Rides can be booked at: hotairtours.com.
Balloon Glows: This is one of the highlights of the festival. Each night at 8, the balloons are brought into the big grass field and fire up their flames, causing them to ‘glow” in the night sky. You can get up close to the balloons here, as they are tethered to the ground.
Weather: It’s warm, even hot during the days. There is very little shade so know that you’ll be spending a bit of time sitting down rather than moving around the area. However, it does cool off dramatically when the sun goes down, so you had better have a sweatshirt handy or you will freeze.
Temecula Wine & Food Festival Band & Music Lineup
– Friday: John Wait (6 p.m.) Night Ranger (7 p.m.) REO Speedwagon (8:30 p.m.). Wine Stage: Kanan Road Band, Moonshine Bandits, Colt Ford
– Saturday:– Brandon Calhoon (4 p.m.), Tenille Arts (5:30 p.m.,), Sara Evans (7 p.m.), Brad Paisley (8:30 p.m.). Wine Stage: Parade Wave, Twisted Gypsy, George Singleton, The Lacs
– Sunday: – Brandon Calhoon (1 p.m.), Callista Heart (1:45 p.m.), Dylan Scott (2:30 p.m.), Scott McCreery (3:30 p.m.). Wine Stage: Daring Greatly, English Beat
Temecula Wine & Balloon Festival Fast Facts
• Address & Location; 37701 Warren Road Winchester, CA
• Website: www.tvbwf.com