How do we mark the passing of the seasons in perpetually sunny SLO County? In Paso Robles Wine Country and scenic Edna Valley, it's all about the changing color of the vineyards! Those lush vines are strikingly green now, but in a few months—after harvest—they'll turn a brassy goldenrod hue. Right now, it's the wine grapes themselves that are really putting on the spectacular seasonal display. Trust me, and take a closer look next time you stop by your favorite local tasting room (get your face right in the foliage, and keep an eye out for dive-bombing birds). Known in viticulture as "veraison," this change in grape color marks the onset of ripening sugars and acids within the fruit (aka, all the things that come together to make great wine). Here's the really remarkable part: No two winegrape clusters will change colors all at once, meaning homogeneous green orbs transform into an ever-developing patchwork of green, yellow, orange, purple, and dark mahogany red (depending on the variety, of course). While in many parts of the country, the end of summer and first chill of autumn means "the changing of the trees" is coming down the pike, I'll take "the changing of the vineyards"—and hot, sunny, bikini-warranting weather—any day of the year. Δ
Hayley Thomas Cain believes no shirt, no shoes, no worries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.