POSTED ON October 13, 2009 | IN Travel Tips, Wine Information | BY Joe Becerra

By the end of this month, the 2009 grape harvest will be 99 percent over. The last grapes to be picked this month are usually Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The reports from vineyards managers, winemakers, and winery owners indicate that this will be an exceptional vintage. Nature has been kind to grapes this year. Last year frost and forest fires took their toll on many vineyards. This recent rainstorm should be okay for the thick-skinned Cabernet grapes that had not been harvested prior to the rain. This will certainly be a fun harvest to follow from now until the bottles hit the shelves.

One interesting note about this year’s harvest, some growers were not able to sell their grapes to their usual customers and many have been forced to let the grapes hang on the vine and drop on their own. The last thing wineries want in this economy is a grape glut. Word is that some wineries skipped this vintage altogether because they still had large wine inventories.

The vines will now slowly begin to turn color through November. It will be fall foliage in the vineyards. What are the best places to view these beautiful vineyards? Here are just a few of my favorite places to view and take photos of the vineyards in the Fall.

In the Russian River region, we love the views from behind the Field Stone Winery in the Alexander Valley on Highway 128. On the beautiful Walling Road near the Frick Winery there are gorgeous sweeping views of vineyards.

In Carneros, the views from the terrace at Domain Carneros are unbelievable and even more enjoyable when sipping some delicious sparkling wine.

In the Shenandoah area of Amador County there are many pretty views, but this photo is one of my favorites. It is on Shenandoah Road about a mile from the town of Plymouth.

Vineyards at Shenandoah Road

Vineyards at Shenandoah Road

How about we start a “Fall Color Watch” for the wine country? Tell us where you spot beautiful vineyards of color and great photo opportunities. What is your favorite spot in wine country for Fall foliage?


  1. Eric from Santa Barbara Wine Tours says

    Down here in southern California, we don’t get much in the way of Autumn foliage, but the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County’s wine country is beautiful year round. I love driving up from Santa Barbara over San Marcos Pass and down into the high valley surrounded by the Santa Ynez mountains. One thing that’s nice about the area is that, even though lately it’s chock full of vineyards and wineries, it still has a really rustic and bucolic feel to it. One place I like to drop into when I can is Cold Spring Tavern, an old stage coach stop that’s now a really fun bar and restaurant.

  2. Lin Durling, Artisan Wine Tours says

    Joe, one of the most beautiful settings in the Sonoma Valley for Fall colors is the old Pagani Ranch, about one mile north of the junction of Hwy 12 and Dunbar Road. It’s along Hwy 12. You’ll find zinfandel vines that are at least a century old and right along side the highway is Alacante, said by locals to be more than 110 years old. In the Alexander Valley, we’ve found some stunning Fall colors over the years along Alexander Valley Road to the south of Red Winery Road. The view from the tasting room at Hanna Winery is breathtaking – any time of year.