Longtime former host of The Prairie Home Companion Garrison Keillor has always reminded us to "be well, do good work, and keep in touch." Well, this column is my way of keeping in touch, and in my book, there is no "gooder" work than that of farming the best wine grapes around. Once harvest subsides, we will all "be very well" indeed, as we kick back and enjoy the fruits of yet another vintage. For now, though, it's all blood, sweat, and tears. Winemakers, vineyard workers, and extremely dedicated friends have been working around the clock to pull grapes from busy vineyards strewn across Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, and Edna Valley. This is go-time, people! But that doesn't mean we can't all have a little fun, too. Harvest Weekend is coming up this Oct. 20 to 22 in Paso Robles and SLO wine country won't be too far behind, with Harvest on the Coast events slated for Nov. 3 to 5. This is the time of year where you'll get to see real life, behind-the-scenes action at your favorite tasting rooms and winemaking facilities, so don't miss out. You can bet your bottle this isn't the pretty-prissy tourist tasting stuff either—it's the real deal labor, and the creative energy is palpable. Aside from viewing the fascinating day-to-day work of crafting a new vintage, you can also take part in lighter offerings like barbecues, live music shindigs, winemaker dinners, and more. Just don't get too comfortable. You never know when a frazzled vineyard manager might need a helping hand!
Hayley Thomas Cain is always willing to give a hand, even if she has zero upper body strength. Send delicious picks to firstname.lastname@example.org.