With more than 275 wineries and impressive terrains throughout, Santa Barbara County is one of the most diverse grape growing regions in the world.
On Tuesday, the area located between Santa Ynez and Santa Maria, known as Alisos Canyon, became designated as the region’s newest American Viticultural Area by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
This marks the seventh region in Santa Barbara County to earn AVA status, which is a designated wine grape growing region in the United States distinguishable by its geography.
“Congratulations to Santa Barbara and congratulations to Alisos Canyon on their AVA designation. We invite you to come down and explore these amazing regions and the seventh AVA in Santa Barbara County,” said Wes Hagen, the winemaker at J. Wilkes Wines in Santa Maria Valley.
Mr. Hagen was the lead petitioner trying to get Alisos Canyon AVA designated. In fact, he was also responsible for the AVA approvals for three AVA’s in Santa Barbara County — Santa Rita Hills (2000), Happy Canyon (2009) and Ballard Canyon (2013).
The other three regions in the county to have AVA status include Santa Maria Valley (1981), Santa Ynez Valley (2013) and the Los Olivos District (2016).
According to a press release from the Santa Barbara Vintners, the Alisos Canyon region “has long been revered for its high-quality fruit with its unique affinity towards Rhone-style varietals,” helping it earn its AVA status.
According to Mr. Hagen’s petition, it also falls “perfectly within the Goldilocks Rhone Zone, a phenomenon that has proven itself true over three decades of winegrowing history in Santa Barbara.”
“If you follow any of the major watersheds out of the Pacific Ocean moving inland into Santa Barbara County, all three watersheds at 24.5 miles — we could call it the marathon Rhone zone — is exactly where Rhone varieties absolutely do incredibly well,” Mr. Hagen explained.
“How cool that exactly 24.5 miles down these regions we have these beautiful places for growing Rhone style wines.”
Producers in the region, which can now label their wines with the AVA designation, include Dovecote Vineyard, Watch Hill Vineyard, Black Oak Vineyard, Alisos Vineyard and Martian Ranch.
“You can expect, as Ballard Canyon produces such amazing Rhone style wines, you can imagine that the Grenache and all these wonderful grapes are all going to be fantastic here in Alisos Canyon, as well as the Cabernet Franc which is one of my favorites in my wife’s favorites,” Mr. Hager said.
Alisos Canyon is also a part of Los Alamos Valley which, Mr. Hagen said, could petition to become AVA designated in the near future.email: email@example.com