The grapes are all off the vines. The days are shorter, with a lower sun angle. We just avoided our first frost of the year here last night, and tonight is supposed to be just as chilly. The weather pattern is transitioning, and each storm front makes it a little further south. On Saturday, we actually got a few sprinkles. Next weekend we're forecast to see measurable precipitation. It's all hopeful for a vineyard (and a region) struggling under three years of drought.
In the near term, the vines are responding to the changing season by losing chlorophyll and letting the colors hidden by the green all year come out. It doesn't last long, but it's spectacular while it does. Here are a few shots I got this morning, starting with a photo from the center of our head-trained Tannat block, looking up at Grenache Blanc (on the left) and Syrah (on the right):
A closeup of some of the Tannat leaves:
And one of the Tannat second crop clusters, that never ripened enough to be harvested, and are now food for our local birds:
In the vineyard, we're applying compost, so that as the rains come this winter, it will be absorbed into the soil and provide for next year's nutrition. That compost sits beside one of the casualties of the late-summer fruit thinning we do to ensure that what we harvest has good concentration:
I was struck by the complimentary colors of the vineyard and those of the new chicken coop we've installed in a section of head-trained Roussanne. I love the "max occupancy" note painted above the door:
And finally, one more photo of the vineyard itself, this time looking up through Syrah, which I think catches the feel of this newly rebalanced season, neither summer nor winter yet, lacking the vibrant green of active growth but before the incipent frosts take away the leaves entirely, and feeling somehow both cool and warm at the same time:
If you have the chance to make it out to Paso Robles in this season, you're in for a treat. It never lasts long, but it's a wonderful backdrop while it's here.