Michael Larner formally notified Central Coast Wine Report today that a petition to establish the Ballard Canyon AVA has been submitted to the TTB.
In an email this afternoon, Larner said:
“…a petition for an American Viticultural Area for Ballard Canyon has been submitted for review to the TTB. Although a long process is ahead with many bureaucratic steps, the approval for this AVA could take up to one year.”
According to Larner, the details of the proposed AVA are:
“Ballard Canyon Wine Growers Alliance is comprised of over 21 members, of which 8 are winery and vineyard members, 6 are vineyard members, and the remaining are property owners along Ballard Canyon Road”.
“There is approximately 7,800 acres of land in the AVA, with only 560 acres currently planted to vines. Of that 560 acres, there are roughly 480 acres of red wine grapes and 80 acres of white wine grapes. Of the 560 acres planted, near 280 acres are planted to Syrah – thus the Alliance feels that the focus of the AVA will be Syrah and its Rhone counterparts, such as Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, etc…”
Wes Hagen, winemaker at Clos Pepe Vineyard, who prepared the petition said the petition process “has also brought the growers and winemakers together with a singular purpose: to understand the uniqueness of their dirt and climate, and how to coax that flavor from the area and into a bottle.”
Ballard Canyon (in Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley) runs roughly north-to-south just east of Highway 101, south of Highway 154, considerably north of Highway 246 (and Buellton and Solvang) and west of Los Olivos. The proposed AVA will, no doubt, span elevations from the floor of the canyon up to top of mesas – which can reach about 1,000 feet in elevation.