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Thoughts of an Owner

Dreaming of the ultimate family farm, in 1996 Mike and Kellie Ballard brought their new born daughter Savannah and their five-year-old daughter Chanel (who was nursing a serious case of "who's this baby gettin' all my attention?") 3.3 miles up the Santa Clara side of Big Basin canyon, up from Saratoga to Shangri-La, otherwise known today as Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards. “Grow wine young man!” …sounded better than row crops, so “buy it!” was the plea and buy it we did. Now, we’re admittedly in a romanticized business. “oh, I’ve always wanted to own a winery” is whined incessantly at every winemaker’s dinner from Mercer Island to Key Largo, but, owning a winery isn’t all jazz sets, ridiculous food pairings, artists in residents, milieu galore, Adirondack recliners, all you can drink, and an envious life-style. Well it is, but that’s just the envious part. The truth is the business of wine growing is real ranching, hard farming, back breaking, barrel schlepping, pump cleaning, soaked up, pressed off, punched down, blown off, leak plugged, bucket brigaded, tractor sprayin’, hose rinsing, pumice spreadin’, SO2’d, jerry rigged, beer basted, de-stemmed, bin dumped, cane pruned, taut wire, man holed, scare crowed, bar-b-q’d, fork lifted, death starred, post dug, fence patched, bird netted, sugar tested, inoculated, pH’d, saigner’d, spirit dosed, topped off, hole bunged, thief tasted, bin picked, jean stained, skin slipped, bladder patched, wire jumped, flash lit, cased off, label fed, glass dumped, cork jammed, 480 shocked, dirt torn, root stocked, mustard mowed, land slid, storm drained, four high, lees racked, ferm stuck, low brix, sweat hogged, fruit sort, belt jammed, sanitized, get up and do it again, get ‘er done, kick ass hard work! The winery fantasy is a kin to the New England Bed and Breakfast fantasy: You know, I’ll be the handy man, you work the front desk and we’ll live happy ever after. Except eleven months later, you’re divorced, the Inn is up for sale, and you’re lookin’ for a 1 bedroom doorman building with a 24 hour building engineer. Well, seventeen years later this Inn is NOT up for sale and The Ballard Family are forever devoted to the wine legacy of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the solemn stewardship of the Pourroy ranch, and we remain endlessly grateful to our phenomenal staff-family without whom nothing would be anything and everything would be nothing… Please come join our Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards’ family and help us enjoy the many splendorous touch-points wine growing rewards!

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