When Bill Ballentine first opened his winery and vineyard business in 1997, he had one goal in mind: produce the highest quality cabernet sauvignon in Napa Valley. Twenty years later, Bill owns and operates William Cole Vineyards, which is one of the most successful small wineries in California.
Having worked for several bigger wineries prior to opening his own, Bill specifically targeted the Howell Mountain area for its revered reputation. The quality of soil and climate in this region are ideal for grape growing. “It’s not about how many tons per acre you can grow, it’s about the highest quality fruit that you can grow,” claims Bill.
William Cole Vineyards also uses a hand-sold, one-on-one method to reach its customers. This personal touch allows Bill and his team to stay closely connected to its customer-base and the different varietals desired. The goal is to establish special relationships that span across future generations, while making better and better wine each year.
Like many winery and vineyard owners, legacy is an extremely important issue for Bill and his family. In fact, his son Cole Ballentine also works at the vineyard. For Bill and Cole to continue improving their wines and preserve the business’s tradition, they knew they had to grow intelligently. That’s when they connected with Live Oak Bank’s winery and vineyard lending team seeking financial solutions.
Operating a vineyard business of any size is capital-intensive endeavor. Live Oak’s ability to partner with Bill to advance his small winery was a pivotal point for their future. No bureaucracy, personal customer service, and a deep understanding of the industry have huge value for them. As a business partner, the Live Oak team helped maximize William Cole’s revenues and efficiency.
If your story sounds similar to Bill’s or you are seeking funding to grow your winery or vineyard, learn more about your loan options and our lending experts here.