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The Fall season

The end of another great summer, yes, the fall season has arrived. Not officially though, that occurs on September 22nd, yet the return to school and college always tends to announce the end of summer. The weather may not agree with my thoughts as hot humid days are still upon us, but there is a feeling of finality to summer when the new school year begins.
As I get older, I love the fall season almost as much as I do the summer. We love sitting outside on cool nights by our fireplace listening to sounds and enjoy the crisp smells that fall has to offer. We live close to our local high school and many evenings we are serenaded by the school marching band practice. Football is another favorite and we have a television set up to view from the patio by our fireplace, what more can you ask for….. some good wine? Everything just tends to slow down a little from the hectic summer schedule of vacations, barbeques, yard work and such. Fall is really a time to relax and enjoy the outdoors. It is also harvest season and as wine lovers we always look forward to and anticipate the arrival of a new vintage. Although we enjoy a lot of different wines our hearts are really with the Napa Valley wines and this year I find myself wondering what the 2008 vintage will bring. After all this was a really troubling year for the Napa area weather wise. Remember back to early spring, Napa experienced some of the worst frost since back in 1972. Some growers lost their entire crops while others lost a high percentage. Most agree now that the overall crop will likely be down about 10 percent. A very hot summer arrived, with very little rainfall, not at all good growing conditions. Many vineyards had water shortages and had to truck in water. From what I have read some growers and wine makers are optimistic that the lower yield caused by frost will actually be a good thing. Lower production and smaller berry clusters could lead to exceptional wines. No one will really know until the finished product is ready. The other unknown is the effect of the many wild fires in the area this summer which caused heavy smoke and soot conditions. This may have affected the grapes negatively, or a positive spin by some is that the invisible cover of soot over the vines may have protected them from harsh conditions and diffused scorching sun. I guess we can only sit back and wait for the 2008 vintage reports. I am sure there are some very concerned winemakers in the Napa Valley this year praying for the best.

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