Long before humans walked the Earth, seismic waves shook the coast of California, forming the Santa Ynez Fault and one of only a few east-west transverse valleys in the world.
The area may not have been established by wine producers for another five million years, but the land was forever changed, and thus began the evolution of its distinct terroir.
Marked by rugged terrain consisting of a wide array of soils and mineral-rich rocks, Happy Canyon is the easternmost region of the Santa Ynez Valley and fosters a landscape unlike anywhere else, which is why it was chosen specifically for our vineyards.
The rich soils of the area range from sandy gravel to loam and are interspersed with cobbles of chert and serpentine, differentiating it from those found in neighboring viticultural areas. Hills, river beds, and creek basins collectively form large fields of oblong stones left behind by ancient waterways and climatic activity.
The gravelly loam, in conjunction with the rocky topography, provides excellent drainage, which forces the root systems of grapevines to branch off and work harder to source nutrients. Not only does this increase the surface area of root-to-soil, meaning more nutrients ultimately get to the grape, but it also helps regulate water absorption. If vines are allowed access to too much water, the benefits are limited to leaf growth but are not considered an advantage for the fruit, and if overwatered, can be fat and characterless. If vines are forced to find nourishment while the grapes are growing, yields will be naturally reduced and berries will be smaller with more concentrated flavors. This is paramount when producing exceptional wines with cellaring potential.
Site selection and soil composition are two of the most important considerations when establishing a vineyard and have the greatest impact on wine quality. These are the reasons founder, Roger Bower, established Crown Point Vineyards in Happy Canyon and set out to produce wines that capture the true character of this area. Come see for yourself what makes Crown Point a profoundly unique place to grow Bordeaux grape varieties.