Fall in Wine Country

There is something magical about fall in the valley. The morning air is crisp, the harvest moon is full. Football, high school, college and, of course, the 49ers, dominate conversation. The Giants are just hitting their stride in Orange October. The leaves start to change. Hot days are now extinguished with cool nights.

And, here, fall means crush. You can smell the annual wine harvest on the air. The vineyards are buzzing from the early pre-dawn hours, and sleep becomes a wish for those in the wine industry. This year, in spite of the record setting drought, destructive August earthquake, and more recent hail storm, the yields are plentiful. In fact, the industry is elated with the results! These are the foundation that make this community thrive. But this fall, there is even more magic.

In addition to the excitement of being back to school and sporting events, fall brings about the annual return of the Yountville Days festival. This past weekend marked the return of PGA presence in Napa with the Frys.com Open at Silverado Country Club. In November, the Napa Valley Film Festival will make it’s annual debut followed shortly by Flavor! Napa Valley – a celebration of our foodie culture. Virtually every winery also has their own event celebrating the culmination of the harvest season.

Fall in Napa is a time to celebrate living the life we love here! (It is also my birthday, so the theme of celebration continues!) Whether you currently make the valley your home, are looking to make it your home, or simply love to visit, I encourage you to get out here and Live Napa!

This Is My Hometown

I am so proud to be a Napan.

Internationally, we here in Napa are known for food and wine. Visitors come here to relax and enjoy our pace of life. It is truly a place where everything slows down just enough to be savored and enjoyed. And while I do love all of these things, this is not the source of my pride.

The Napa Valley understands community. Sure, we have our struggles, but for the most part, Napa cares.

Just a little over a week ago, at 3:20 a.m., our peaceful little valley was rocked by the largest earthquake in Northern California in 25 years. Historic buildings came crashing down. Homes and businesses were lost. Wine was destroyed by the barrel. Streets were torn apart and shut down. This was what was left:

 

 

Earthquakes are a reality of living in California. And misfortune happens everywhere. Yet, while the media focuses on these images of destruction, I will remember a different side of this earthquake.

I saw a society come together to take care of their own. An outpouring of community love and support for those families with members  injured or lost. Businesses, halted by red and yellow tags donating their services to help their neighbors. Complimentary coffee and food set out on the sidewalks for workers, volunteers, and displaced residents. Acquaintances greeting each other with hugs, and strangers sharing a kind word. An overwhelming willingness to help Napa get back on its feet.

The phone calls started by 3:25 a.m. And twice as many text messages. Anyone who felt the earth move immediately reached out to determine the safety and needs of virtually everyone they knew in town. And it felt good. The entire community felt like family.

This past weekend was Labor Day. A huge tourist weekend in Napa, particularly since crush (the annual fall grape harvest) is already underway. Yes, it is a little early this year. Instead of bowing in defeat to Mother Nature, less than a week after it was brought to its knees, the Napa Valley flung open its doors to welcome guests. Actually, it went so far as to encourage people to come and visit. Obviously, there is still a lot of work to be done, but it is mind boggling to consider that just a couple of days later, Napa was up and running again.

The strength, generosity, resiliency and perseverance of the Napa Valley is immeasurable. I am so proud to be a Napan.

This is my hometown.

There is no place like home…

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