At 25 years old, Jacqueline Balletto is the tasting room and direct-to- consumer manager at her family winery, Balletto Vineyards. Was it her lifelong dream to join the family business? “No, not at all,” says Balletto. “I wanted to prove myself and go in my own direction, but everything kept leading me back to Balletto Vineyards.”
Growing up in a farming family is a way of life, not just a part of life, says Balletto. She attended Fresno State university with a focus on agriculture business. “I wanted to go to a university where agriculture was a big focus, so I went to the school located in the largest agriculture county in the world.” With a farm directly on campus, Balletto was given a hands-on experience. “I love numbers, so I chose agricultural business as a major, but I took additional classes in viticulture and horticulture,” she says. “The horticulture classes were my favorite.”
Balletto knows the value of family all too well. When she was away at college, she became ill. “I got really sick my junior year. That made me look at how important family is. When you have a pivotal experience like that, it really changes your perception for the better and makes you think about what’s important in life, especially to your own life.”
After college, she began working for the family winery as a harvest intern in 2014. To gain an additional business perspective, she began working for a distributor, ultimately returning to Balletto Vineyards, but this time as an assistant viticulturist. “I had a well- rounded experience of the whole business before becoming tasting room manager. “
Today, Balletto is focused on growing the tasting room and direct to consumer portion of the business for now, “I cannot predict the future, but that is what I am focusing on right now. We’ll see where it takes me!”
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