Yesterday, we had our second (small) storm of the winter come through Paso Robles. Late Sunday night, the main frontal boundary pushed through the area, dropping about 4/10" of rain on us and similar amounts across most of the Paso Robles region. Yesterday, the storm's low pressure center moved over us, producing another 2/10" of rain in a few discrete cloudbursts.
I went outside around mid-day to get a photo of the approaching storm, hoping for a shot (or even a video) of the first drops of rain. Instead, when I got into the middle of the vineyard, a small hole opened in the clouds overhead, and I ended up with about twenty minutes of beautifully illuminated sunlit vineyard foreground, and impressive swirling dark grey clouds in the background. As the skies opened up:
A few more favorite photos are below, starting with the one I ended up posting to our Facebook page, looking up our main hill across our Grenache and Mourvedre blocks. As always, click on the images to see them larger, and visit us on Instagram for more visual treats:
From the top of that hill, the contrast between the vines and the skies was even more dramatic, and looked to me like a movie set:
The sky was a show in itself:
But the light was equally friendly to the autumn colors. I like the feel of this photo, looking down through our oldest Grenache block down over the center of the vineyard:
Back at the winery, autumn was definitely in the air, with puddles on the crushpad, leaves swirling, and a chill that promises frost the next few nights:
This is a firmly wintery pattern we're in at the moment. We're getting modest storms every week or so (each of the first two have produced about a half-inch, with another similar one forecast for a week from now) and cool days and cold nights in-between. I've had frost on my car most mornings the past week, though the vineyard has until now escaped with temperatures in the mid-30's. That's likely to end over the next few nights, which is a good thing.
There are the first inklings of a real winter storm, that might -- hopefully! -- produce multiple inches of rain, forecast for the end of next week (around November 19th). If so, great. But whether the serious rain starts sooner or later, these mini-storms are perfect ways to begin our winter, because they'll allow our cover crop seeds to germinate and hold the soil in place once the rain really gets going. We can't wait.