Batter, batter, swig.
A Sonoma, Cali., vineyard holds a secret: a fully-functioning and maintained baseball field. The family-owned Balletto Vineyards built out the nearly four-acre diamond to support an employee’s baseball dreams.
Several varieties line the edges of the regulation-sized field. To the batter’s left is Pinot Gris, and to the right is Chardonnay, more Pinot Gris, and a few Pinot Noir vines.
The space was created in 2002 for a longstanding employee’s community team, marketing and e-commerce manager Michaela Green told MLB.com. Community teams often play at the vineyard field, and the novelty attracts visitors to Sunday games.
As vineyard employees often lead walking tours through the property, Green says they must regularly avoid stray foul balls. Another component that vineyard staff is conscious about? Sustainability. Green says the baseball field is watered by reclaimed water from the winery’s operations and a reservoir nearby on the property.
Balletto Vineyards founder and owner John Balletto took over management of his family’s vegetable farm at 17, following the death of his father. In 2001, amidst a California drought and other natural hazards, the family transitioned from veggies to vines. They began cultivating Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, later branching out to include other varieties. Balletto now produces some 20,000-25,000 cases of wine each year.
For wine lovers and baseball enthusiasts alike, this truly is a field of dreams. This is not the first time that alcohol has been paired with America’s favorite pastime — and it certainly won’t be the last.