Lake Skinner hosts 31st annual Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival

Colorful balloons lit up the night sky over Lake Skinner as individuals from all over Riverside County and elsewhere enjoyed some of the Temecula Valley’s finest vintages.

The park surrounding the lake hosted the 31st Annual Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival; the event saw more than 40,000 people who were interested in enjoying wine, food and live entertainment from May 30-June 1.

Dozens of different food vendors set up shop over the three day weekend and offered up a number of different culinary options. There were traditional fair food staples like funnel cake, polish sausage, carne asada fries and fry bread.

However, the food options didn’t just stop there; several booths offered a trip to the Mediterranean with traditional Greek foods like spanakopita and gyros while others appealed to attendants’ interest in the unusual with items like fried alligator on a stick.

In addition to its food offerings, the event had a number of winery and brewery booths to visit. Some wineries were completely new to the event while others were familiar with it.

The recently opened Lorenzi Estates Winery was serving up its first year vintages of white and red wine. They were offering tastes of their Estate Riesling and Ranch Red.

Brenda Lorenzi, owner of the new winery, described the Riesling as a dessert wine with a mild sweetness that was easy on the

palate. She said the Ranch Red was not a traditional dry red wine and that it was actually best served chilled.

Lorenzi said that as a first timer of the event, she was excited by how smoothly everything was going.

“So far it’s been fun,” she said. “The weather actually has been nice, the bands up on the stage have been awesome and the people we’ve met have been really nice.”

Lorenzi may have been a new face at the event, but Matt Russell of Lorimar Winery has been there for nearly a decade. He used to visit before he worked at Lorimar and has continued to visit as a manager for several of the winery’s departments.

Russell was serving up a number of different varietals alongside his fellow Lorimar pourers that included a White Merlot, Sweet Ros

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