Autumn has arrived in California Wine Country, and once again I am struck by how incredibly beautiful it is here at this time of year. The air actually smells like wine as the harvest gets underway, and there is a huge rush of energy as winery employees work around the clock to pick the grapes at the exact moment of perfect ripeness. Fermentation begins in vats, tanks, and barrels, and the used skins and seeds are redistributed back in the vineyards to provide nourishment for next year’s crop.
When I first moved here eleven years ago from Colorado, I was worried I would miss the change of colors in the tree leaves during autumn in the Rockies. However, I was unprepared from the magnificent tapestry of orange, gold, yellow, and red that spreads over the vineyards. The hillsides are ablaze in a myriad of fall colors, and it takes your breath away when the huge harvest moon rises in a deep orange globe over the evening landscape.
I am on sabbatical this autumn semester, working on two new books – one on California’s
most famous vineyards. I’m also helping with harvest in some local wineries and waiting for my own grapes to ripen before the yellow jackets eat them all. Who knew that yellow jackets ate grapes? This semester is also filled with travel. I just returned from 3 weeks in Italy where they were having an early harvest in Tuscany. In October, I head to Hawaii, and in November to London and Idaho. I stay in touch with many of my students through email and Facebook.
And so in this time of miraculous autumn in wine country, I believe the following quote from J. Robert Moskin is most appropriate:
life’s gifts is that each of us, no matter how tired and downtrodden, finds
reasons for thankfulness: for the crops carried in from the fields and the
grapes from the vineyard.”
J. Robert Moskin