Autumn Has Returned to the Vineyards

Vineyard across Oakview Road from Donati Family Vineyard Tasting Room

Vineyard across Oakview Road from Donati Family Vineyard Tasting Room

 

Even though I was dressed to go to a meeting, I couldn’t resist stopping to photograph this vineyard dressed for autumn on my way. It’s half a mile from home as I turn toward the freeway onto Vineyard Drive. I stopped to get some fall photos of some other vineyards on the way home. I knew if I didn’t, I’d never get around to it.

It was cloudy, with occasional light showers, so the sky was clear. I stopped first along vineyard and parked at Turley. A flock of what appeared to be crows were circling over part of the vineyard and I took a few shots of them, but I was mostly interested in the colors of the vine leaves. I peaked through a fence to get this shot.

Peaking through the Fence at the Turley Vineyard from their Driveway

Peaking through the Fence at the Turley Vineyard from their Driveway

Down Winery Road a bit from Turley is the Rotta Family Winery, the oldest family-owned winery in Templeton. Unlike some other vintners, the Rotta family uses dry farming, so the vines aren’t strung together on trellises. Turley also grew their grapes that way. Most of the local vineyards are irrigated, though, such as the one in the top picture. At Rotta, I climbed the hill by the road behind the tasting room. Here are two views of the same vine. The first is the overview. You can see the grapes are not yet harvested. Beneath it is a close-up of a part of the vine on the ground.

Rotta Vine, Dry Farming, loaded with grapes.

Rotta Vine, Dry Farming, loaded with grapes.

Branch of above Rotta Vine along Groud, Close-up

Branch of above Rotta Vine along Groud, Close-up

 

Most visitors to the local vineyards don’t get past the tasting rooms. They rarely see the business end of the wineries. But autumn is harvest time. I could hear the tractors among the vines. Some vines had already been picked bare. If you’re interested in how the grapes become wine, check out Croad Wines from Vineyard to Bottle. Mr. Croad whose vineyard is across my back fence,  invited me to observe his harvest last year, as well as the processing of the harvest. As I climbed the hill above Rotta and looked below me at a neighboring vineyard, I saw the business end of a winery.

Behind the Scenes at a Winery

Behind the Scenes at a Winery

Finally I got to the top of the hill and I was surprised at how far I could see. I was even able to see my house, but it’s not in this picture. I used the zoom to focus on Heart Hill, at least half a mile as the crow flies, and much longer if you have to use the roads. Heart Hill is at Niner Estates Vineyards. It’s a heart-shaped grove of live oak trees. It will be prettier when the leaves change color later on and will look more like this.

Below is the view I shot with my zoom yesterday.  Near where I was standing, the vines in this image show their true color because they are close to the camera. The lighter parts of the image are all at Niner Estates, which looks much closer than it really is.  To get there by car I would have to go back to Winery Road, take it until it gets to Booker Road (about half a mile) and then take that about another half mile to Highway 46 West. Then I’d go east at least a quarter of a mile more to get to Niner.
Foreground are the vines of Rotta Vineyard on October 22, 2012.

Foreground are the vines of Rotta Vineyard on October 22, 2012. In the background is Heart Hill in the vineyards of Niner Estates in Paso Robles.

It’s a shame most people visit wine country in spring and summer. I think fall is the most beautiful season of the year in Paso Robles and Templeton vineyards. What do you think?

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