Ballard Canyon: Santa Barbara County’s Most Prestigious AVA
The region’s fifth AVA recognizes 7,800 acres


BUELLTON, CA – The Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association (SBCVA) is pleased to announce that Ballard Canyon has been designated by the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) as Santa Barbara County’s fifth official American viticultural area (AVA) effective October 30. Ballard Canyon joins the existing AVAs of the region including Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria Valley and the broader Santa Barbara County.

According to the TTB’s press release on September 30, “rule T.D. TTB-116, creates the establishment of the Ballard Canyon Viticultural Area. This final rule establishes the 7,800 acre Ballard Canyon viticultural area in Santa Barbara County, California. The new viticultural area, codified at 27 CFR 9.230, is entirely within the existing Santa Ynez Valley and Central Coast viticultural areas.”

Ballard Canyon, encompassing 7,800, is the second AVA in the Santa Ynez Valley along with Sta. Rita Hills. The region is an integral part of the diversity within the Central Coast and Santa Barbara County designations. Varietal plantings are shared, a preponderance of Rhone varietals can be appreciated, yet Ballard is a specific and distinct sub-region producing authentic ‘terroir’ and unique wines.

According to Michael Larner, president of the Ballard Canyon Winegrowers’ Alliance, “The 16 vintners in the Ballard Canyon AVA have always recognized the unique potential of this site. We see it each year in the high quality of fruit we pick and in the fine wines we craft. We have always known that we occupy a special space at the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara County. Our efforts have now been officially recognized. The Ballard Canyon AVA represents uniquely territory-driven wines from one of the most beautiful spots in California. The fact that this good news comes in the middle of harvest, makes this a vintage we will never forget.”

Varieties Planted by Acre (Bearing) in Ballard Canyon, 2010
As reported by the members of the Ballard Canyon Winegrowers

Red wine cultivars: (Rounded to nearest acre)

  • Syrah: 274 Acres
  • Grenache: 61
  • Sangiovese: 26
  • Nebbiolo: 10
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: 29
  • Cabernet Franc: 20
  • Merlot: 9
  • Petit Verdot: 5
  • Petite Sirah: 6
  • Mourvedre: 7
  • Tempranillo: 4
  • Counoise: 3
  • Zinfandel: 2
  • Cinsault: 1

Total: 458 reported acres of bearing red wine grapes.

Region of Origin: Rhone Varietals: 76%, Bordeaux: 14%, Italian: 8%, California ‘Heritage’: 2%

White wine cultivars: (Rounded to nearest acre)

  • Roussanne: 16
  • Marsanne: 4
  • Viognier: 20
  • Grenache Blanc: 7
  • Sauvignon Blanc: 31
  • Semillon: 3
  • Malvasia Bianca: 2

Total: 83 reported acres of bearing white wine grapes.

Region of Origin: Rhone Varietals: 57%, Bordeaux: 40%, Italian: 2%

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

About the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association

The Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 to support and promote Santa Barbara County as a premium wine producing and wine grape growing region. The Association includes winery members whose annual production is at least 75% Santa Barbara County labeled, as well as grower/vineyard members and business associations. The Vintners’ Association produces festivals, seminars and tastings and provides information to consumers and the wine and travel media.

More information on Santa Barbara County and its other AVAs.