Jim Ballard is a native of Grand Island, NE. He has both his Undergraduate and Masters degrees in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After a short career in broadcasting, where Jim was a reporter for KOLN-TV in Lincoln, and KKAR Radio in Omaha, he spent over eight years in the Public Relations Office at UNL, and was also as an adjunct professor in the UNL Journalism College. However, a little over 18 years ago he had a hunch. Jim thought his father-in-law's farmland, situated northwest of Lincoln was fertile ground for growing grapes. With his father-in-laws blessing, Jim planted several grapevines with hopes his hobby would someday produce fine homemade wine..something to share with family and friends. It did, and Jim's hobby took a new twist. James Arthur Vineyards opened in September of 1997. Now part-owner and winemaker of James Arthur Vineyards, his goal is to produce award winning Nebraska wine while providing guests to the winery with an experience that is educational, exciting and interesting.While serving as winemaker, James Arthur Vineyards has earned a number of accolades in wine competitions around the country for many of their wines. Including, numerous Best of Class Awards, as well as a Jefferson Cup Award and the Best White Wine of the Los Angeles International Wine Competition for their Edelweiss, and Best of Show White Wine for Vignoles at both the Florida International Wine Competition and the Monterey International Wine Competition in California, and recently Best of Show Blush Wine at the Colorado State Fair Wine Competition.
Jim is currently serving as a board member of the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association, where he also serves as chair of the legislative committee and is a past-president. He also serves on the Board and is past chair of Wine America, which is the only National Association of American Wineries, and is also a Board Member for the National Wine and Grape Initiative. Closer to home he serves as president of the School Board For Parkview Christian School in Lincoln and is a member of Senator Mike Johann's Agricultural Advisory Committee. Jim is also a graduate of Leadership Lincoln, and the Nebraska LEAD Program. He attends Calvary Community Church in Lincoln. Jim and his wife Barb have been married for 25 years, and live in Raymond, with their three children, Benjamin, 20, Beau, 18 and Edyn 14.
Although she considers herself "retired," Barb Ballard stays plenty busy.Top priority has been raising the couple's three children, Benjamin, Beau and Edyn. Next comes managing the day-to-day operations of JAV as well as the winery's gift shop. She also coordinates the many special events JAV holds throughout the year and coordinates the tasting room. Not bad for being retired! Barb graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in broadcast journalism. She first worked as a producer for a Lincoln television station then as a talent and casting agent in Omaha. Later, she worked as office manager for her father's meat packing plant. Barb stopped working full-time when the Ballard's were expecting their second child (who they just sent off to College last week). She came out of "retirement" when her family started the winery. Her focus now -- as it always has been -- is family, friends and working with people. It's the perfect combination.