Dawn in Napa brings the kinds of landscapes, with layer upon layer of hills and fields and trees, that I associate with prints of impressionist oil paintings scattered around the average home in the late twentieth century.
Very late last fall, we left the already-frigid upstate New York for a weekend in Napa.
During that trip, we visited the Bond-villain-esque Palmaz Vineyards. Almost the entire winery is underground in an 18-story cavern, using gravity to feed grapes and nascent wine from level to level. These enormous fermentation tanks are on a 24-tank rotating rail system so that each can be filled.
Even the dormant vines in “winter” give the setting an idyllic, “classical landscape” look.
To produce this 24-hour auto-changing desktop, I took pictures on our Lexington, Kentucky cottage’s front porch over the course of a day. Though some changes, like the clouds and sky, I expected, I was more surprised to see the variation in light reflected from the white roof of the porch over the course of the day.
Wine country in the fall is a little slice of heaven. The rain had passed, the last of the fogs and cloud were rolling past the distant hills, and the golden vines are drifting into hibernation for the colder season. Perhaps vineyards are the best combination of the sophisticated and the bucolic. If nothing else, the slightly artificial reality of Napa contrasts starkly with the slightly artificial urbanity of Berkeley.
In between the bouts of rain, we slipped up to wine country this weekend. Autumn is in full swing, and the fields of grape vines have turned to the perfect combination of reds and golds. It’s easy to get lost in those vines, for just a moment, until I popped my head up and took this picture. Across the sea of color, you can catch the hints of other vineyards and hills dotting the countryside.
Today’s shot has some pleasant symmetry to it: the careful lines of the trellises, the interplay between the blue of the sky and the creamy colors of the gravel, and the complete contrast of the curving and unruly hills running behind it all. There’s something personally satisfying about the way humans carve out little areas of neurotically-aligned geometry, but in the end, it’s nothing compared to the scale of the randomness produced by plate tectonics.