Show 459, January 22, 2022: Michael Larner, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager, Larner Vineyard & Winery, Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley Part Two

Micheal Larner of Larner Vineyard and Winery

Larner Vineyard & Winery established in Ballard Canyon in 1999 is truly a family affair operated by two generations of the Larner Family. It’s a California Certified Organically farmed estate. Tradition and passion guide the meticulous farming of 34 acres of Rhone varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier as well as the Italian variety, Malvasia Bianca. Limited annual productions of handcrafted quality wines define this boutique winery.

The Larner Vineyard & Winery Tasting Room is located in historic downtown Los Olivos and is open daily. Winemaker and Vineyard Manager Michael Larner’s wife, Christina, is the Retail Manager and also runs the adjacent Los Olivos General Store.

“Driven to find a family property they could all share in winemaking, founders Christine and Stevan Larner came to the Santa Ynez Valley. When they first set eyes on the property in Ballard Canyon in 1995, they knew this was their route to a family legacy. Christine still lives on the property but Stevan passed away in 2005. Stevan Larner was an Oscar-nominated, Emmy winning cinematographer who spent much of his early career in Europe where he first learned to love wine.”

“When the couple found the ranch property in Ballard Canyon, they set about clearing the land to plant vineyards in a place that had never before been cultivated. It was amazing to see the land toiled by machines, and analyze the soil and weather. Son Michael Larner took care of all the soil and geology matters, and the land told the family what to plant: Rhône varietals. And the rest is history.”

“Winemaker & Vineyard Manager Michael Larner earned his Master’s Degree in Viticulture & Enology at the University of California, Davis and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His formal training in wine continued with cellar apprenticeships at Marchesi Antinori’s Tenuta Guado al Tasso (Bolgheri, Tuscany) and E. Guigal’s Château d’Ampuis (Rhône Valley, France). He previously worked with Santa Ynez-based wineries Babcock Winery and Rusack Vineyards. He has been making wine since 1999.”

“Michael is co-founder of the Ballard Canyon AVA and recently served as president of this newly-founded AVA (American Viticulture Area). Ballard Canyon is one of our nation’s smallest AVAs and is focused on the production of quality Syrah.”

“Michael’s sister, Monica Larner, is a wine writer based in Rome. Following ten years as Italian Editor with Wine Enthusiast, she now reviews Italian wine for Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Monica takes a smaller role at the winery, but continues to contribute her knowledge in the final wines: from blends to aging time.”

Michael Larner continues as our guest to gently pull the cork on more about the Larner Vineyard & Winery.

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