Napa…Fall, two of my favorites things.
Growing up in Upstate New York, autumn always brought brilliant colors, cool crisp air, and the smells of winter coming.
Unbeknownst to most, the Napa Valley shares many of these beautiful fall traits. Starting with the grape harvest, the entire Valley begins to buzz with activity, the kind of buzz that can only come from the rush to get in the crop. There’s a momentary sigh of relief once the grapes are in, then a stretch of long grueling days in the wineries to get the wines safely fermented and barreled down.
Driving up The Valley in the morning, you are greeted by dozens of hot air balloons launching and tule fog along the roads. Days of watery sun and lengthening beams of burnt orange light give way to bracingly cold evenings. The stove calls out for pots of hearty soups to be simmered and fireplaces are swept out in order to warm the room.
Whenever I return to The Valley during the fall, it feels comforting, there’s a heady sweet smell of composting pomace as you approach Rutherford, smoke rising from chimneys and sense of calm after a storm.
If you’re ever lucky enough spend spend an extended period of time in the Napa Valley, make sure it includes the fall.