The Wine Country Online

September through December, 2001

    The on-line magazine is an outgrowth of and continuing update to the recently published Sonoma Picnic, a California Wine Country Travel Companion. Scroll on for highlights excerpted and updated from this handy little book!

Rainbow over the Church of the Tambourines on Piper St. in Healdsburg   "The promise of a sunny day!"

Scenic North Bay Edition

    Fall can be a wistful time of year. For me the first morning of frost on the garden is loaded with portent and memories. It's a time to take stock of summer's bounty and make plans for winter and spring. It's a great time to be in the Wine Country as we pass from the excitement of harvest to the more contemplative season of winemaking.Expect crisp mornings and evenings, a slight chance of showers, and a sublime Mediterranean illumination on the vineyards and golden hills.

A Special Tip from the Editor

Tune in to join Jacques Pépin and his daughter Claudine for their newest public television series, "Jacques Pépin Celebrates" (check local listings for dates and times).

Last October I had the good luck to not only enjoy a lovely Slow Food presentation by the master but also to sit in on the taping of one episode from his "Celebration" series. Having learned a good deal of my chosen craft from Jacques' books, it was a treat to actually see the man work. I highly recommend you try to catch as many of the twenty half-hour and six hour-long episodes that you can!

"Jacques Pépin Celebrates" may be seen on public television over the fall and winter of 2001. Check the details at or get Jacques' KQED schedule.

(For those outside the Bay Area, look up Jacques here on PBS.)

Shore Report

    The windswept autumn gold of the coastal rangelands is reason enough to head over to the coast before the big winter storms start to roll in. Reason enough, but the bonus is generally great weather and a wonderful color to the water with good visibility for diving and poking around the tidepools. (Note: Even though our lovely Pacific may seem calm and placid, never turn your back to her when you're out on the rocks!)

    Check out our friends at the Tides Wharf Fish Shop or call them for current information on locally landed fish.

    The Tides Wharf
    835 Hwy 1
    Bodega Bay

    For up-to-date information on fall ocean fishing or bird- and whale-watching trips, you might give our friends at Bodega Bay Sport Fishing Center a call at 707-875-3344.

    Call the good folks at our local surf shack for up-to-date shore conditions.

Hot links to Local Events:

Select! Sonoma County
Sonoma County Wineries Association
Russian River Wine Road
Consorzio Cal-Italia

"On the Run"   Zin harvest at Lencioni Vineyards

Merlot: Block #7

At the meeting place
I count 15 rows in
Then turn toward sunset
Backlit by moonglow
Into an endless line
Of thickened vines
Heavy with dark fruit.

They exhale their summer scent on me.
Uneven earth tempers my footfall
But the drum in my center resounds
In the tapestry of leaves
There is movement.

At the hint of you in the distance
My dress wilts from my shoulder
And stars race from the gathering dark
To seer my unclad skin.

I spread my white blanket on brown earth.
You eclipse the white of me
with your earth brown body.
Your hands, that cradle sweet, ripe fruit
in the noon day bring on
the quickening of my nectar.

I kiss your many wounds
For the grape knife is so sharp,
Exacting. You enter my soul wound
We are each, for the other, a healing salve.

As I sigh out my pleasure
The grapes above me absorb
The sensorial wave
Stars are dropping into the vineyard
All around us, drained of their light.
We have done the work
That no winemaker ever can

Finding our ways home
In the hour before dawn
We leave the fruit
To carry on the magic.

Poem for Fall by Penelope La Montagne
("Morning Haiku," 5:58 a.m. on KRCB 91.1 FM)

Head-trained Zinfandel

Fall Events by Month:
Please call the phone numbers listed for details

Art Events are listed on our Sonoma County Arts Update

For late (between-issue) inclusions see our page!


    From late August to early October, experience the full-tilt excitement of the harvest. Norteño, Mariachi or Tejano music blasts from the boom boxes according to each crew's tastes. The pickers race with lugs of fruit held overhead to the bins where the foreman records the tally. Everyone's on the run. It's the focal point of our year.

    Silver salmon season begins for offshore fishing and on the Russian River.

    Harbor Seal Watch
    At the mouth of the Russian River
    Jenner, 707-875-3422

    Russian River Jazz Festival
    Gurneville, 707-869-9000

    Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival
    Downtown Sonoma, 707-996-2109
    Blessing of the grapes in Sonoma Plaza.

    Women's Weekend #2
    Gurneville, 707-869-9000

A golden vineyard in Napa Valley


    Gorgeous colors adorn the hills, roses bloom everywhere and the first frost hits.

    Sonoma County Harvest Fair
    Santa Rosa, 707-545-4203

    ARTrails of Sonoma County
    16th annual Open Studio Tour of 130 Sonoma County artists' studios. October 13 & 14 and October 20 & 21. Tours free; color catalog on sale all around the county.
    Sonoma County Arts Council: 707-579-ARTS (2787) More details at

Harvest 2001 in Dry Creek Valley


    Rain and sleep for the vines, olive harvest begins, and everyone joins in thanksgiving for the fruits of the season.

    Steelhead season begins for the Russian River.

    Fourth International Worlds of Flavor Conference and Festival
    Worlds of Flavor: Spices, Aromatics and the American Table
    November 8-10 in Napa Valley
    Open to the trade. Contact Cate Conniff, 707-967-2303

    Olive Harvest Orchard Tour
    Sunday, November 11, 2-5 p.m.
    McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma
    Guided walk through one of the olive orchards, tour of frantoio milling room, organic kitchen garden and fruit orchard, discussion of seed-saving and gardening techiques with the ranch's head gardener, and preview tasting of 2001 Olio Nuovo. (Space limited   reservations required)

    North Bay Veterans Day Parade
    Downtown Petaluma, 707-762-0591
    The real deal   a day for those who answered the call.

Morning fog on the Russian River in Alexander Valley


    Olive harvest continues. The vines sleep while the field crews prune away the summer's canes.

    Healdsburg Antique Dealers Open House

    Historic Tree Walk
    Downtown Healdsburg, 707-431-3301

    Christmas at the Sonoma Mission

    Gray whale migration reaches its southbound peak in mid-month

Ready for winter at Lencioni Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley

For more fall images, see last fall's calendar and last winter's Fall Color Gallery.

For inclusion in the Calendar, please submit events prior to 3/1 (for April, May and June), 6/1 (for July, Aug. and Sept), 9/1 (for Oct., Nov. and Dec.), and 12/1 (for Jan., Feb. and March) to the editor. If you have image files to email, please send them separately to the webmaster. Thanks!