Balletto Vineyards – SF Wine Tasting Panel Spotlight
Representing small Estate wineries like Balletto is precisely what we specialize in doing. While we’ve been a long time supporter of their wines, the current releases are particularly attractive, especially the single vineyard Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, their Flagship bottlings. From a value standpoint, rarely does our staff register “across-the-board” approval of every new release, so Balletto Winery is in rare company indeed. For the money, all of these wines over-deliver and we are proud to offer them to you.
Balletto Vineyards is a small, family owned and operated winery, located in the cool southern tip of the Russian River Valley. Balletto is known for producing distinct, cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris from it’s over a dozen estate vineyards. They pride themselves on having complete control from vineyard to bottle, being 100% Sonoma County Sustainably Certified; by practicing meticulous farming, obsession to detail, handpicking grapes, and their premier growing sites. John Balletto and Winemaker, Anthony Beckman, strive to grow and create wines that can be shared by family, friends, and laughter.
Founder and owner John Balletto started the business after the untimely death of his father in 1977. At the age of 17, when his family needed most, he put their needs before his own and relinquished several college athletic scholarship offers, so he could stay home and help his mother run the small five-acre farm. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s they purchased parcels of land to gradually increase vegetable production. By 1994, the Balletto family had grown the business into the largest vegetable farm in Northern California, growing more than 70 different vegetables on 700-plus acres.
In spring of 1998 three El Niño storms wiped out many of their vegetable plantings, causing nearly $2 million in damage. Determined to overcome the adversity John and his wife, Terri, set their sights on the wine grape growing business. Subsequently, they converted all of their vegetable farming land to estate vineyards over a three-year period and started selling fruit to well-known wine producers in Sonoma County. After seeing the high-quality Russian River Valley wines crafted from their fruit, they decided to pursue winemaking. They saved one-tenth of the fruit for themselves-selecting the top 10 percent of quality and in 2001 created the first vintage of Balletto Vineyards estate wines from Russian River Valley. The Balletto’s crushed enough Russian River Valley fruit for 391 cases of Chardonnay and 689 cases of Pinot Noir that first year. Today, John, Terri, and their two daughters, Jacqueline, and Caterina continue to oversee day to day operations. They still use 10% of the grapes grown for their own label and are currently in the 20-25,000 case range.
Balletto farms their 16 Estate Vineyards in the Russian River Valley AVA. Pelletti Vineyard in the Laguna Ridge area. The Santa Rosa Plains Vineyards; BCD Vineyard, Occidental Road Vineyard, Hall Vineyard, and Piner Vineyard. The Sebastopol Hills include; Burnside Road Vineyard, Emerson Block, Mary’s Vineyard, Cider Ridge Vineyards, and Sexton Hill Vineyard. Balletto specializes in single vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, but produces several other outstanding varietals including; a traditional method Brut Rosé (95 points + double gold, experience rosé competition), Rosé of Pinot Noir (92 points, Wine Enthusiast), Sauvignon Blanc (90 points +_ gold, North Coast Wine Challenge), Pinot Gris (90 points, Wine Enthusiast), Unoaked Chardonnay (91 points, Wine Enthusiast), Oaked Chardonnay (90 points + Editor’s choice, Wine Enthusiast), Gewurztraminer, Zinfandel, and single vineyard Syrah.
Balletto Vineyards’ patio is currently open for sit down tasting by reservation only. Guests can reserve a time online or by phone. A new large meadow has been crated for guests to have plenty of room to remain socially distanced, while strolling and enjoying their wine, taking in the beautiful scenery.
Balletto Vineyards Wine’s to Purchase
5700 Occidental Road
Tasting Room Phone Number: (707) 568.2455 x 101