Local lore suggests that Happy Canyon was so named during the Prohibition years of the 1920’s. Moonshiners tucked into the hills, and folks would make sojourns up to ‘Happy Canyon’ to replenish their forbidden caches.
With steep hillsides and mineral rich soils, the area later became an interesting target for that more refined palliative - wine. Coupled with a notably warm climate, Happy Canyon soon distinguished itself as an ideal location for the growth of Bordeaux varietal grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as some Rhone varietal grapes.
Gaining its American Viticultural Area (AVA) designation in November of 2009, the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA is the smallest Santa Barbara AVA, registering just under 24.000 acres in size. Its soil is a mixture of loam and clay loam, with interspersed shiny, green serpentine. Grape vines have to work hard to eke out an existence here, resulting in luscious, concentrated flavors in Happy Canyon wines. As you descend into Santa Barbara Wine Country, don’t miss the verdant hillside vineyards on the eastern end of the glorious Santa Ynez Valley.