William Cole Vineyards

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Winemaker: William Ballentine

Winemaker: William Ballentine

“It’s about passion.” – William Ballentine, Winemaker

The fourth generation in his family to make wine in Napa Valley, William Ballentine, Jr. has winemaking in his blood. Growing up among the vines, tending grapes and making wine is the dominant theme of Williams life, a legacy handed down to him by his father, grandfather and great grandfather. William grew up in St. Helena on the family vineyard, which serendipitously is across the street from William Cole Vineyards. He studied business and finance along with enology and viticulture at Fresno State University and graduated in 1987.

After working for Gallo Wine Company in the late 1980s, and then later with his father at Ballentine Vineyards, William grew eager to hone his cabernet harvesting and blending techniques. In 1998 he became winemaker for St. Clement Vineyards in St. Helena where he had the opportunity to work with many of the great winemakers. In 2001, William left St. Clement to concentrate on opening his own winery and on winemaking consulting for small, quality-driven growers, many of whom he has helped develop and build wineries throughout Napa Valley.

In the Cellar

“Our winemaking practices are gentle and slow. The timing of everything in the creation of our wine is based on taste. There is no hard and fast schedule and no rush in the winemaking process. For our Cabernet, each distinct vineyard block is harvested, fermented and barrel aged separately. By isolating each of the lots and dealing with them independently and individually, I am able to maximize the various qualities that each one has to offer. These special properties resonate in the wines with layers of complexity and dimension.”