Paso Robles Vineyards in Mid-December

Some Unharvested Grapes after the First Frost at Donati Family Vineyard

Some Unharvested Grapes after the First Frost at Donati Family Vineyard

As I walked through the vineyards around my home on December 17, it really struck me how fast a vineyard can change from magnificent autumn leaves to drab brown. It’s sad to see some vines heavy with  left-over unharvested grapes such as these.

Grapes Not Harvested before First Frosts

Grapes Not Harvested before First Frosts

Right across Oak View Road from Donati Family Tasting Room is another vineyard which was gorgeous only two weeks ago in its autumn colors.

Oaks by Vineyard on Oak View Rd, November 18, 2011

Oaks by Vineyard on Oak View Rd, November 18, 2011

 

Now look at that same vineyard a month later.

Oak View Vineyard on December 17, 2011, after First Frosts

Oak View Vineyard on December 17, 2011, after First Frosts

 

Later in the day I visited some other vineyards, including a new one I hadn’t noticed before on Oakdale Road a bit past Hunt Cellars off Highway 46 West on the left — Red Soles Winery. I didn’t go inside, but those who did  seemed to be having a good time and the parking lot was too small to get all the cars in. People were parked on both sides of the narrow driveway and it was not easy to get back and forth. I parked on the side of the road and walked a bit through the vineyards to get these pictures.

Red Soles Vineyard, December 17, 2011, after Frosts

Red Soles Vineyard, December 17, 2011, after Frosts

 

In the picture above, the effect of the frost is set off by the light green of the new grass between the rows, but the expanse of the vineyards, row upon row, magnifies the effect. The view below is not quite as sad because the live oaks in the background provide some color, and even though the deciduous oak is losing its leaves, there is something majestic about it.

Red Soles Vineyard with Oak Trees, December 17, 2011

Red Soles Vineyard with Oak Trees, December 17, 2011

One thing that impressed me on this after-frost vineyard walk was how many grapes were just abandoned on the vines. Most harvesting was finished as far as I know, so these grapes seem to have been left to rot or freeze on purpose. I hope I’m wrong. There’s something sad about so many tasty grapes going to waste when so many people would have enjoyed eating them if gleaners had been allowed to get the ones the vintners didn’t want. I had tasted one grape per vineyard on my November walk, and they were definitely sweet enough to eat.

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