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Autumn in the vineyards…

…is one of those relaxing and transitional times. Some grapes have already been harvested, some are maturing on the vines. The pace of life can take on a more “natural” rhythm, if you let it.

Although the Napa and Sonoma Valleys of California come to mind when the word “wine” is spoken, truly fine vineyards, wineries, and wines are “virtually” (I say that in the usual sense, not the high-tech sense) in my backyard. Others have sprouted over the last 10 years along Highway 101, between the Bay Area and Santa Barbara, tranforming dry brown hills into curves of green vines.

The Harvest Wine Celebration is an annual celebration here in Livermore and surrounding areas on Labor Day Weekend (Sunday and Monday). This year marked the 26th year for the celebration. Some 36 wineries participated in wine tastings, food, and music. I can remember when there were far fewer wineries (maybe 15), both participating and *actually in existence*. Shuttle buses carry the celebrants, and music ranges from Jazz to R&B to Country to Rock. In addition, there are place to taste olive oil and mustards, to view and purchase fine art, jewelery, pottery, and glass.

This year’s Tri-Valley Harvest Wine Celebration was named a “Top 100 Destination” in North America by the American Bus Association. A fact that I just learned is that my valley had once supported 50 wineries, before Prohibition, and the number has grown back to 38 (not all wineries participate in the Celebration, for example, new wineries may choose to wait).

Last Thursday, when I took the autumn vineyard photos that I just posted to the site tonight, I was thinking about the clarity of the air after a series of rains had swept the valley of dust and haze, about the crispness of the air, and about the warmth of the sun. (One of the most delightful things about California is that, if you protect yourself from the wind, the sun is warm all year ’round.) The early evening sunlight was warm, and the vineyards were awash with color: purple grapes, brown vines, green, yellow, and red leaves on the vines. It made me feel wonderful to be alive.

I hope that you enjoy the photos. I have placed two of them prominently: one on the Home Page and another in the slideshow, linking to the Viticulture and Wine section of the Portfolio.


Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo

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