Today, Napa lives in brilliant yellow. It may sound strange to pinpoint mid winter as a staggeringly beautiful time of year here, but it is true none the less. There are much needed rainy days and many cold nights that bridge December to February. The morning hours flow too quickly. By late afternoon it is already growing dark. And there are no leaves on the vines. But in amidst the harshness of the wet-chill, there are middays flooded with warm sunshine. Day after day, where the sun’s rays cover the entire Valley as the warm embrace of mother nature.
We’d visited in early summer when the vines were growing heavy with leaves and were filled with bright green clusters of grapes. And during the early fall, when those clusters had become fat with juice and the entire Valley seemed to work as though an orchestra, every note of every harvesting hand playing in perfect harmony. Those would be the most beautiful times, we thought, when we decided to move to Napa. But the surprise that came with our first winter here is the surprise I still feel today, four winters later.
When I look at the starkness of the old vines, gnarled and charcoal-black, twisted over time, empty of their leaves, left barren of any fruit… I still see their magnificence. I see their wisdom, their time-tested stalwartness. There they are, thousands of them, standing in rows like good soldiers waiting for the command to burst forth in new growth. They are quietly strong.
In between the rows there is glorious color—brilliant and vibrant—yellow blossoms of wild mustard. They fill the emptiness of the vineyards and soften the starkness of the vines. They offer a unique beauty that lives only in the late of winter.
Very soon there will be buds. The days of dark will give way to days of light and Spring’s promise will wish away winter. And Spring will be welcomed. But for right now, let winter stay… because Napa is incredibly beautiful today.