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Ballard Canyon AVA Approved


This week, the federal government approved the creation of the Ballard Canyon American Viticultural Area (AVA), welcoming yet another wine-growing appellation to the Santa Ynez Valley, which also witnessed the creation of the Sta. Rita Hills and Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVAs over the past decade. The move comes more than two years after the first filing of the application, which made the case that the soils and climate of the thin, 7,800-acre canyon located between the towns of Solvang, Buellton, and Los Olivos make for distinctive wines, particularly for grapes such as syrah and grenache originally from France’s Rhone Valley. Among the 18 vintners included in the new Ballard Canyon appellation are Stolpman, Jonata, Larner, and Rusack vineyards.

“We have always known that we occupy a special place at the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara County,” said Michael Larner, president of the Ballard Canyon Winegrowers’ Alliance. “Our efforts have now been officially recognized. The fact that this good news comes in the middle of harvest, makes this a vintage we will never forget.”

His neighbor, Geoff Rusack, was also effusive at the news. “In the past two decades, I would often tell people that Ballard Canyon is one of Santa Barbara County’s best kept secrets,” said Rusack, who gives Clos Pepe vintner Wes Hagen a lot of credit for processing the application, as he did for the Sta. Rita Hills and Happy Canyon. “With the passage of time, and more and more world class grapes and wines emerging from this incredible little area, the genie has slowly gotten out of the bottle, and Ballard Canyon is now nationally recognized as a truly special place in the world of viticulture.”

Red Wine Grapes of Ballard Canyon

Syrah: 274 acres

Grenache: 61 acres

Sangiovese: 26 acres

Nebbiolo: 10 acres

Cabernet Sauvignon: 29 acres

Cabernet Franc: 20 acres

Merlot: 9 acres

Petit Verdot: 5 acres

Petite Sirah: 6 acres

Mourvedre: 7 acres

Tempranillo: 4 acres

Counoise: 3 acres

Zinfandel: 2 acres

Cinsault: 1 acres

Total: 458 acres

White Wine Grapes of Ballard Canyon

Roussanne: 16 acres

Marsanne: 4 acres

Viognier: 20 acres

Grenache Blanc: 7 acres

Sauvignon Blanc: 31 acres

Semillon: 3 acres

Malvasia Bianca: 2 acres

Total: 83 acres

Vintners and Winegrowers of Ballard Canyon

Beckmen

Boa Vista

Brownell’s Viejo Vineyard

Capazzo Vineyard

Daly

Dohlmeyer

Finkle Family Vineyards

Harrison Clarke

Hinnrichs

Jorian Hill

Kimsey

Jonata

Larner

Rusack

Sarloos and Sons Windmill Ranch

Stolpman

Tierra Alta

Willingham Vineyard

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