This is such a beautiful time of year in the vineyard. As the vines gradually shut down photosynthesis for the year, vibrant fall colors appear. The low angle of the light in the mornings and evenings bring out the contrasts. And the moderate temperatures invite you to spend time appreciating it all. I spent an hour this morning on a ramble around the vineyard and here are a selection of my favorite photos.
First, a shot of the main work we're doing at this time of year: making sure that we provide the soil the nutients it will need to remain healthy, before the rains come to make things impassable. We do this mostly with compost we've made ourselves from the grape must and vine prunings we take off the vineyard each year. The compost spreader was in front of one of my favorite autumn vistas of the vineyard, with the contrasting colors of Tannat (foreground), Grenache Blanc (back left) and Syrah (back right):
That Syrah block is always one of our most colorful. A closeup shot looking up between two of the rows feels distinctly fall-like:
Looking back at the morning sun highlights the contrast between the red Syrah and the still-green Grenache Blanc:
The leaves, still mostly on the vines in the above photos, are starting to come off some blocks, principally Mourvedre and Roussanne. Looking down at the south end of the property shows the difference between the different grapes, with Roussanne on the left, Grenache Blanc still leafy in the middle, and Mourvedre on the right. The large propellor is a part of our frost protection system, which we use in the spring:
The next view, over the straw-bale tractor barn in the middle of the vineyard, also shows contrasts between the different blocks that are harder to make out in the middle of the summer, when everything is green. In this view, you can see Grenache Blanc (foreground), Tannat (the head-trained block below it), Grenache Noir (the green hillside on the back right), Counoise (middle-left), and Mourvedre (back-left):
Our owl boxes were mostly occupied this year, which is great. As I approached this one, an owl swooped out over my head and flew away to the woods, watching me. Alas, I was so surprised I couldn't get a photo:
Finally, a shot of one of the most colorful leaves, from a Mourvedre vine we grafted onto our old Chardonnay block:
These colors won't last long -- just until our first serious frost, which could happen any day -- so make sure that you ask to spend some time outside when you're visiting. You won't regret it.