Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
A Happy Canyon winery with a bright future and beautifully made, limited production wines
One of the newest additions to Santa Barbara’s Happy Canyon AVA, Grimm’s Bluff was founded in 2010 by Rick and Aurora Grimm with the intention of making premium wine in the classic Old World-European style. The couple’s 16 acre estate vineyard was planted to warm weather-loving Bordeaux varietals in 2012 and is one of the only vineyards in the region to have been biodynamically farmed from the start. The first releases from Grimm’s Bluff have been very well received and highly rated, setting the bar quite high for this new darling of the Happy Canyon winegrowing region.
Raised in Islington, London by her parents who emigrated from Italy in the late 1940’s, Aurora Grimm grew up in a family where food, farming and family winemaking were important parts of their daily lives. Her husband, Rick Grimm, on the other hand, grew up in West Virginia and worked in the oil business for most of his career. He met Aurora upon moving to London in 1983, and together they launched their own petroleum products business that focused on blending environmentally friendly road fuels. The business was highly successful, and after selling it in 2007, Rick and Aurora decided they were ready to take up a new life in California. They moved to Santa Barbara with their three children (Henri, Gabriella, and Sam) and purchased a beautiful, sprawling ranch property in the Happy Canyon.
Originally, the Grimms planted oat hay on their property, but quickly realized it was not their cup of tea. Since they both loved wine, they decided to explore the possibility of planting a couple of acres of wine grapes. At the time, no one had planted vineyards in the Grimm’s sub-zone of Happy Canyon, but after connecting with winemaker Paul Lato and top biodynamic consultant Philippe Coderey, the Grimms found the most suitable area of the ranch to plant vines and were on their way to establishing the Grimm’s Bluff Vineyard. Their ultimate goal was to make a wine that suited their preference for Old World style, and one they would be proud to share with friends and family. In 2013, the Grimms harvested their first wine, a Sauvignon Blanc, and haven’t looked back since.
Nestled in the South East corner of the Happy Canyon, the Grimms’ 246-acre ranch is quite idyllic with vineyards, Italian olive trees, a personal garden and wild flower insectariums, all perched above the Santa Ynez River and cupped by rolling hills of the canyon. We can only imagine the bright future that lies ahead for Rick and Aurora Grimm and their beautifully made, limited production wines. We hope you enjoy this month’s Garagiste feature.