Deborah Hall

Deborah Hall

Gypsy Canyon Winery (Winemaker and Owner)

Over a 100 years ago, the first known woman wine grower in California, Dona Marcelina Felix Dominguez, grew Mission vines on her Santa Barbara County property. The vines survived, and when Deborah Hall, and her late husband, William, bought the property in 1994, they discovered these vines under a heavy cover of brush. They originally thought the vines were Zinfandel, and sold them as such to other vintners. DNA testing at the University of California, Davis, later revealed that they were Mission vines. Spanish Padres brought Mission vines into California in 1767 from Mexico and established a chain of missions from San Diego to Sonoma from 1767 to 1833.

Deborah's historic Mission vineyard of three acres is part of only ten acres of this varietal still growing in California. She has named the vineyard "Dona Marcelina's Vineyard," and it is the oldest producing vineyard in Santa Barbara County today. Using a recipe written in 1891 by Emile Vache, Deborah crafts a Gypsy Canyon Ancient Vine Angelica, a rich, fortified dessert wine from the Mission grapes.

The original Gypsy Canyon property was 290 acres and included an1800s farmhouse. In 1997, she sold 160 acres and its 18 acres of vineyards, keeping 130 acres with 12 acres of vineyards for herself and her two young children. The site has an exceptionally cool microclimate compared to other vineyard sites in the Santa Rita Hills AVA. Farming is largely by hand and is both organic and biodynamic.

In keeping with the historical roots of the property, Deborah uses hand-blown glass bottles of historically correct shape with an embossed glass seal, a handmade paper label, and a beeswax seal. Each finished wine is bottled in a hand-blown bottle that is numbered and signed by her. In addition to her Ancient Vine Angelica, Deborah also crafts a Gypsy Canyon Pinot Noir.