As I've mentioned before, there are few things I'm as attached to as Fall on the East coast. It's always a shocker for me when Halloween rolls around here in SF and it's barely cold enough to wear a jacket. And with no leaves crunching under my feet, how am I supposed to know that Thanksgiving is coming up, other than the fact that my fun foodie friend has sent out the evite for his annual deep fried Turkey feast?
Back home, there would be seasonal clues such as "football weather" and the first hints of that smokey fireplace smell wafting from neighborhood chimneys. Here in SF, my only tool for time reference is an Arctic Outdoors calendar that hangs on my bedroom wall. When it changed from Alaskan Musk Ox to Thelon River Caribou, I knew it was now November. (Note to self: get another arctic-theme calendar for next year. Reason: If I'm ever feeling indifferent about the upcoming month, I turn the page and see this period of time will be dedicated to, for example, the Snow Fox or the Polar Bear. Somehow, I then feel much more positive about things.)
Although SF has nothing on NJ when it comes to Fall (oh, and Summer), Napa may just hold its own in the seasonal boxing ring. I was up there with Dayle and Larry for a baby shower this weekend, and discovered that the vines turn all sorts of autumny colors in November. Ok fine, so they're vines and not trees, but so what? It's still foliage, right?
The three of us paid a visit to a small, rustic winery in the mountains between Napa and Sonoma. Standing near a wood-burning stove in a cozy little tasting room, we looked out on endless rows of golden vines. As we traded impressions of each wine that was poured for us, I found myself getting over the fact that Fall for me is no longer synonymous with football weather. The truth is, I don't even like football...or beer for that matter. At that moment, I mentally traded in my bottle opener for a cork screw and raised my glass to California.