The Traveling Steve's

A truly Happy Day in Happy Canyon!

In my last post, we had just started our wine touring  journey around Santa Barbara in a brand new Tesla, as part of Sustainable Vine Wine Tours.  Now that we have introduced the car, we’re visiting three fabulous boutique and family wineries that are quite off the beaten path.

With the ultra-deluxe GPS and mapping built in the Tesla, it easily steered us to our first stop, thru the mountainous regions away from Santa Barbara and the happy-sounding name: what else ‘Happy Canyon Vineyards!

With a name like Happy Canyon, what’s not to like?  Indeed, the region area is called Happy Canyon, and we were fortunate enough on our private tour to not only have a tasting in the family’s home, but also an ‘adventure’ ride in an ATV around the mammoth property.  

The Piocho Ranch property is so large that only a portion of the property (yet a very large portion!) is dedicated to wine-making, while the flatter section is a training camp for world class Polo horses and matches.  We were told that the word Piocho comes from an American Indian meaning that says “Where the two rivers meet and go to heaven” . 

While the polo grounds, stables, matches etc are not open to the public, we did ride by the polo grounds on the ATV.   Wine club members are invited one day a year to watch the Polo Matches.  We did join the wine club of course, and hope we can come back in June for that event, but not withstanding, we truly loved the wines and the heart and character that this family vineyard instills in them.  

Our ATV tour was quite an adventure.  It was a bit breezy and in the low 50s with a dampness in the air, it felt a bit chilly, especially as we went higher up the hills.  Santa Barbara had just gotten rain (in fact the day before and the day after we were there), which made the trails a bit muddy in places, but no fear, we plowed ahead in the fancy ATV.

Towards the top of the summit, we were afforded with beautiful views of the property and valley below.  The neighboring property also had a polo grounds and we could clearly see the track way down low. 

Our family guide explained how they name tracks or plots of the vineyards after family members.  Shown here are a couple different tracks, named after family members.

After our touring adventure, and a slight scare with a ‘mud slide’ we were safely back at the tasting ranch; in this case the family’s home.  We had the private tasting on the side enclosed porch area, and even with a slight chill thru the screens it felt good sitting at the large tasting-tables as a heater provided warmth, while overlooking the breathtaking scenery.

We tried several different vinos, making notes about each as we went.  This exclusive VIP tasting at Happy Canyon Vineyards, was truly a treat and we were ‘happy’ to bring a few vinos home, as well as joining their wine club.

Before leaving, we got a quick tour inside the house, including this massive open-air kitchen that’s made for entertaining! Or a living room that you could surely relax in for a bit.  Or perhaps our favorite feature –  a wine cellar wall display that would make any upscale restaurant envious!

As we departed Happy Canyon, we were indeed happy!  So ends this post, but a couple more wineries to go!  Thank you for the hospitality!



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