The Place

The relationship between farmer and vintner is vital in our pursuit of crafting the best possible wine from the best possible fruit.  Our wines from Westerly begin in the vineyards of small family-owned growers.  Through farming and winemaking at the highest possible level, we illustrate the diverse potential of the Santa Barbara County wine region.  We have embraced a unique opportunity at Westerly as we focus on two well-defined regions, the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara and Sta. Rita Hills.  This unique contrast in place is paramount to our vision at Westerly.  

 

Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara is the easternmost growing region in Santa Barbara County. First planted in 1996, the AVA is widely recognized for its unique micro-climate, serpentine-laced soils, and its ability to produce top quality Bordeaux varietals. Designated as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) by the Trade and Tax Bureau in November of 2009, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara is home to only eight vineyards and three brick-and-mortar wineries. 

The AVA lies north and west of Lake Cachuma, and the area descends in elevation from 3430’ in the northeast to 500’ in the southwest. It is the warmest micro-climate in the Santa Ynez Valley. The soils are made up of a mixture of loam and clay loam with red and yellow chert and serpentine cobbles. In general, the soils are low in nutrients and thus grow smaller vines that produce high quality wine grapes. 

During Prohibition, a “California Moonshine” was produced in the nearby foothills of the Los Padres mountains. Legend has it that folks would “take a trip up Happy Canyon” to purchase the infamous beverage and the name stuck.

Westerly Vineyard Image

Sta. Rita Hills

Sta. Rita Hills is a relatively small appellation of approximately 100 square miles. Intersected by the Santa Ynez River, the cool climate appellation is located between the towns of Buellton and Lompoc in Santa Barbara County. 

The Sta. Rita Hills viticultural appellation is uniquely situated to receive the maritime influences that create the ideal climate for the growing of exceptional wine grapes. The flavor, intensity and complexity of Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir and Chardonnay come from a combination of the unique east-west coastal valleys, while cool weather, fog, wind and our soils limit vine vigor, crop yield and intensify the flavors of the wines. Distinct geology and geography combine to form an absolutely unique maritime corridor. 

These two east-west oriented valleys (centered around Santa Rosa Road and Highway 246) represent some of the most incredible dirt and unique climatic influence in the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay world.

Westerly Vineyard Image
 

Photogallery rendered here.