HAPPY CANYON OF SANTA BARBARA
Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara is the easternmost growing region in Santa Barb
ara County. First planted in 1996, the AVA is widely recognized for its unique micro-climate, serpentine-laced soils, and its ability to produce top quality Bordeaux varietals. Designated as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) by the Trade and Tax Bureau in November of 2009, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara is home to only eight vineyards and three brick-and-mortar wineries.
The AVA lies north and west of Lake Cachuma, and the area descends in elevation from 3430’ in the northeast to 500’ in the southwest. It is the warmest micro-climate in the Santa Ynez Valley. The soils are made up of a mixture of loam and clay loam with red and yellow chert and serpentine cobbles. In general, the soils are low in nutrients and thus grow smaller vines that produce high quality wine grapes.
During Prohibition, a “California Moonshine” was produced in the nearby foothills of the Los Padres mountains. Legend has it that folks would “take a trip up Happy Canyon” to purchase the infamous beverage and the name stuck.