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Unpretentious St. Helena Boutique Winery Wine Tasting
Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Tasting Tours
Van and Betty Ballentine both come from long-time Napa Valley wine families.
Betty’s grandfather, an Italian immigrant named Libero Pocai, got his start in the business in 1906 when he purchased 60 acres of vineyard land with gold coins he’d earned as a laborer.
Van’s father, John, arrived in California from Ireland in 1910. Later, during the heart of prohibition, he made a move that some viewed as foolish. He purchased 160 acres of Napa land and waited for an end to prohibition.
Van and Betty met as children and later married. For years they sold their grapes to top-tier wineries such as Rosenblum and Rombauer, but in 1992 they began producing wines of their own which experts deem as superb.
A visit to Ballentine is suited to people who want to focus on the wine itself rather than on glamorous surroundings. The recently-remodeled tasting room is attractive and offers a wonderful view of Howell Mountain and Mount St. Helena, but it’s not glitzy. The Ballentines are often behind the counter, pouring wine and chatting with visitors, and the overall vibe is warm, friendly, and decidedly unpretentious.
Ballentine Vineyards is frequently included on wine writers’ lists of favorite boutique wineries in Napa Valley.
Amenities: Wine Club