Winery InfoJohn Balletto began farming in 1977 at the tender age of 17. With $200 in the bank and five acres in Sebastopol, California, John began farming produce with help from his mother, Hazel. By 1981, John purchased his first ranch in Santa Rosa with the help of former high school counselor and friend, Pete Barbieri. As business grew he leased more land.
With the increasing costs of leased land, John and his wife Terri decided to purchase a large piece of land in order to grow more vegetables and build a new produce packing facility. John would eventually become the largest vegetable farmer north of the Golden Gate Bridge growing more than 70 different vegetables on over 700 acres.
In 1998, there were three El Nino storms during the spring that wiped out three of their successive plantings. Between those storms and the NAFTA Agreement that went in place in 1994 - 1995, it was hard economically to stay in the vegetable business. They already had 35 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vineyards on their home ranch in the western hills of Sebastopol and felt that in order to stay in the farming business they must make a change.
In 1999, the conversion of vegetable land to vineyard planting began. In 2001, the Ballettos crushed enough Russian River Valley fruit for 391 cases of Chardonnay and 689 cases of Pinot Noir.
The Balletto Family has over 600 acres in the Russian River Valley and select 10% from many different clones and soil types to make their wine. They feel fortunate to sell the remaining 90% of their grapes to other wineries.