Jim and Barb Ballard

Owners and Founders

Jim Ballard had a hunch. The many customers of James Arthur Vineyards are glad he followed it. Jim thought his father-in-law’s farmland, situated north of Lincoln, Nebraska, was fertile ground for growing grapes. With his father-in-law’s blessing, Jim planted several grapevines with the hope that his hobby would someday produce fine homemade wine, and something to share with family and friends. It did, and Jim’s hobby took a new twist. James Arthur Vineyards opened five years later. A former broadcast journalist and Master’s graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln In Journalism; Jim is JAV’s head winemaker and still helps with the winery’s daily operations and special events. His goal is to produce award winning Nebraska wine while providing guests to James Arthur Vineyards with an experience that is educational, exciting and interesting.

Although she considers herself “retired,” Barb Ballard stays plenty busy. Top priority is being Mom to 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, plus putting in time at the Ballard’s newest adventure, the From Nebraska Gift Shop in Lincoln’s Haymarket. 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. She came out of “retirement” when her parents started the winery. Her focus now — as it always has been — is family, friends and working with people. It’s the perfect combination.

Julie Zielinski


Julie Zielinski was born and raised in Wisconsin, and although she has called Nebraska home since 1988, she continues to a be a die-hard Badger and Packer fan to this day! Julie joined the From Nebraska Gift Shop family in 1995 as a part-time seasonal sales associate and has never left, eventually working her way up to manager. When Barb and Jim bought the store in 2014, it was a no brainer that they would ask Julie to continue in that role. Julie loves meeting people from all over the world and telling them about all the wonderful things that Nebraska has to offer. When not hanging out at the Haymarket shop, Julie loves spending time with her husband and her two grown children and soon to be daughter-in-law, as well as playing in the kitchen with new recipes. You never know, you might just get a chance to try one of her new creations when you stop by. Either way, she would love to see you and say hi!