"COLOR-CODED CARPET: Leaf colors advertise differing grape varieties in blocks of Napa Valley vines.”
Vineyard Journal, November 2021: Winding down the vines
Last month we took a break from the vineyard to explore fermentation. Meanwhile, vineyards put on kaleidoscopic pajamas to get ready for their long winter nap. An old sunset pictorial about California Wine published in 1973 described November as “the ebbing flame.” Here’s the rest of their charming entry:
“One hard rain after the harvest, color comes to the vines. Chardonnay leaf turns the most delicate of yellows. Cabernet Sauvignon turns a bright crimson. Petite Syrah goes dark, almost purple. The autumn leaf colors of each variety bear an inexact relationship to the color of the wines. All are pigmented by distinctive combinations of the same compounds that color garden flowers. Old vineyards mount the showiest color."
Birds rummage the colorful canopy, cleaning out the last of the insects harbored there among whatever fruit was missed in the flurry of harvest. Soon, vines will pull their sap back to their trunks, lose their leaves and go dormant to hibernate through the winter. Solar energy captured by their now colorful leaves and stored in the sap will be saved until the spring for budbreak.