Update on Thomas Church-designed William Cole Vineyards

William Cole Vineyard
William Cole Vineyard - Photo by Pam-Anela-Messenger


In April of 2014, Bill and Jane Ballentine, owners of St. Helena, California’s William Cole Vineyards with a landscape by Thomas Church were told by Carrie R. Gallagher, Deputy County Counsel for Napa County, that their winery violated County code and they would be fined $70,000.

The County said use of their historic vineyard as a winery violated its Certificate of Occupancy; a result of their failure to install fire sprinklers, hydrants and widen the property’s historically significant entry road. Further legal action was threatened if the Ballentines failed to comply with its demands. This effectively ended a lengthy fight to preserve this significant designed landscape from alteration (a timeline of events can be found here). 

The Ballentines have begun complying in the belief that if they allow the County to close the winery they may never be able to reopen. During their battle with the County, numerous letters were sent to the County on their behalf, though they’re unable to access them. The couple has asked that individuals who submitted letters of support send copies to:

William Ballentine

P.O. Box 692

St. Helena CA 94574

Additional letters are also welcome. The Ballentines will continue to challenge the County even while they begin the process of complying.