Bill Ballentine represents the third generation of his family to be involved in the production of wine in the Napa Valley, inheriting a natural talent for winemaking and a love for the vines and growing grapes from his grandfathers.
After working for Gallo Wine Company in the late 1980’s, Bill joined his father Van Ballentine of Ballentine Vineyards to replant and develop vineyards in the Napa Valley that had been in the family since Bill’s ancestors immigrated to the valley and built wineries during the early 1900s. In those years Bill’s maternal great grandfather, Libero Pocai, established Pocai Winery near Calistoga while Bill’s paternal grandfather, John Ballentine, opened Deer Park Winery on Howell Mountain. Following Prohibition, these founding winemakers worked with Andre Tchelitscheff, the late renowned Russian Winemaker who influenced Napa Valley winemaking.
While growing grapes and managing vineyards for his family and others in the Napa Valley in the 1980s and 1990s, Bill made wine with his father for Ballentine Vineyards. In 1998, eager to hone his cabernet harvesting and blending techniques, Bill became the winemaker for St. Cement Vineyards in St. Helena, where he had the opportunity to work with many of the world’s great winemakers.