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Stories from the valley

Leaf fall at Walker Vineyard

Contributed by Tim Johnson

When one thinks about all of the great fall color in the Sacramento Valley trees are what mostly come to mind. In Sacramento, we have some great trees – pistachio, maple, redbud, ash and my favorite sycamore. In the Sierra Foothills, however, wine grape vineyards offer some of the most spectacular colors of the season. And now is the time to see them.

Great wine grapes have been a thing in the foothills since the Gold Rush. After the pause for Prohibition in the 20’s it come back with a roar and now, along with Apple Hill is one of the top agricultural pursuits in the region.

Wines here are fantastic and are just the thing for the holidays. In my last blog I talked about some of my favorites, all grown within an hour of the Capitol.

While the wines may be gaining a well–deserved reputation, the fall colors re often over looked. November through the first of December are the best times to catch the yellow, reds and fiery oranges of the vines, as the enter dormancy.

It’s funny, but different varieties leaves have their own unique fall colors. Riesling is a striking yellow. Petite Sirah a deep mahogany. Zinfandel starts out a brown/yellow and transforms to a fiery orange. Barbera, as with the wine, is just perfect, exhibiting all of the fall spectrum.

Throw in the vibrant yellow leaves and contrasting ebony trunk of the old black walnut we saved and fall in the vineyard can rival any place in the north state for a great fall show.