Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Hot Air

TC, winery sales manager and astute observer and organizer of winery activities, alerted the vineyard crew to the presence of a hot air balloon over the vineyard. It was a couple hundred feet up, and looked to be slowly descending. As it drew closer a vineyard worker ran to get his camera. The balloon continued to descend; a lapis lazuli pendant dropping in luxurious slow motion from a sky of white silk. Rows of vines like fingers, outstretched to catch a precious stone. Aloft passengers waved to earthbound admirers.

The balloon looked like it would touch down in the field adjacent to the vineyard to the south, behind some trees. The pilot asked if he could set down in one of the open fields on the vineyard property? Observers on the ground answered he was welcome to land anywhere he wanted.

The retrieval crew drove onto vineyard property in a van hauling a trailer. The balloon hovered over the trees, slowly approaching earth behind the winery; the pilot telling his ground crew exactly where he was going to land. He touched down on the gravel drive, and the ground crew guided the balloon basket to a spot where passengers could safely exit the basket, and the balloon to deflate onto the open grass. Here are some pictures:

Turns out the passengers had visited the winery the day before and told TC they were going on a balloon ride. They had no idea they would land at the same winery again the next day. TC wondered about the practicality of having a store of sparkling wine for future balloon landings.We hope balloonists can maneuver future landings in the merry old land of Shenandoah Vineyards.

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