Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA

This is a short post I did about the appropriateness of AVA’s in a developing wine region.

I’ve been thinking about this, and I think the key is to do a new AVA in a region about every 5 years…like a Boston album, well thought out, slow growth of regional identity.

People knew in 1972 that the santa Rita Hills were a very unique winegrowing coastal throat, but we waited until 1997 to submit. I knew in 1996 that there was some really nice Cabernet being grown on the east side of Santa Ynez, and Bryan Babcock told me about Happy Canyon where the red and green rock escarpments (chert and serpentine) had been breaking down for ages, and that the calcium/magnesium ratio would slightly stunt growth…hot weather, natural crop limitation. Babcock now believes HC is a bit too hot for some grapes, and is really bullish on the Figueroa Mountain area just to the west of HC of SB. Sounds like another AVA in 10 years. Los Alamos deserves one, as does Ballard Canyon. Premier Pacific may go for a Salsipuedes AVA west of Santa Rita Hills as well.

I also believe there may be climates too small for AVA’s, but extraordinarily exciting, west of Lompoc for sparkling wine, and between the SRH boundary and Buellton for Rhones and some white cal Ital, and perhaps Alsatians.


One Response to “Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA”

  1. As the guru for your own ava, I’m always interested in what you have to say about the subject. Enjoyed this new blog of yours, and will miss the Harvest saga, which I’ve followed for weeks.

    Now, what about larger AVA’s breaking up — like Sonoma, Monterey, and east of 101/west of 101 Paso??

    All the best to you guys.

    As ever,


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