Happy Canyon is emerging as an exciting chapter in the history of Santa Barbara Wine Country. In the very east end of the Santa Ynez Valley, on the Los Padres side of Hwy 154, this bucolic canyon of large horse ranches and hillside vineyards presents a quiet and thoughtful contrast to the typical bustling wine routes.
Differentiated from other Santa Barbara wine regions by hotter temperatures and a mineral terroir running down from the Los Padres, Happy Canyon is home to six major vineyards and two active wineries, with a third winery to be operational in 2010. Consistent with the desire to protect the rural nature of the neighbourhood none of the wineries offer public tasting, although trade visits are encouraged.
The excitement over Happy Canyon relates to the unique micro-climate and high-magnesium serpentine-laced terroir which concentrates the flavor of the grapes and enables the vineyards to produce excellent Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, in addition to Rhone varietals such as Syrah and Sangiovese.