With a name like Happy Canyon the wines must be great! Right?
Positively Yes! Located in the far eastern edge of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA, the Happy Canyon AVA delves into the San Rafael Mountains just northwest of Lake Cachuma. Being inland means a significantly warmer climate that ensures complete maturation for later ripening varieties. The rolling terrain, high slopes and varied soils of this region are best suited for growing Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc, creating rich, concentrated wines. Syrah and other Rhône varieties and Sangiovese also flourish here.
I have little experience visiting wineries in the Happy Canyon AVA, but much more experience with vintners who make wine from grapes purchased form the vineyard owners in this AVA. For example, watch for vintners who proudly proclaim their Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes from the Happy Canyon AVA. You’ll be glad you did.
Tip No. 5: Map your route before going. Try to be as efficient as possible and group your visits in an area. Don’t try to do too much in a day. Relax!
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