By this time next week, California will have a new American Viticultural Area — a fancy name for an area of land with unique and/or unusual climatic and/or environmental qualities for the growing of winegrapes.
As is the case with many AVAs, this new one will be defined within an existing, larger AVA.
In fact, it will be within the boundaries of several AVAs. Ranging from largest to smallest, the existing AVAs are California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara County and Santa Ynez Valley.
And now, within the Santa Ynez Valley AVA, there will be the new Happy Canyon AVA.
In a county best known for its bottlings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Happy Canyon AVA is producing primarily Bordeaux varietals. At present, this warmer area is home to eight vineyards (two of which produce in quantities too small for commercial winemaking) and no wineries.
It’s about the size of the Edna Valley AVA in San Luis Obispo, and with 23,941 acres, it’s relatively small but has room for growth.
If bottlings from Happy Canyon turn out to be as good as the current growers expect, look for that growth to be rapid and extensive.
For more on the Happy Canyon AVA, go to Wines & Vines’ report at: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=news&content=68431&htitle=Happy%20Canyon%20Vineyards%20Get%20AVA