There are any number of signals the mountain gives that tell me the growing season is not only in full swing, but that harvest is soon approaching.
Some of these signals are vineyard specific; veraison, for example (the point at which the grapes change color, and accelerated ripening commences). We’re starting to see it in Sonoma, and it should be right around the corner here at Monte Bello.
Sometimes though, the signals are more tangential; one of the more beautiful of these is the return of Monte Bello Fog.
Driving up the mountain, early on a weekend morning, there is a point along the road — one of the final hairpin turns before the winery comes into view — where you break through the fog cover, and it’s as if you’re in an airplane finally cresting the clouds. Behind you stretches a beautiful plush expanse of fluffed and rippling white so dense it’s easy to imagine one could stride right across the valley to the mountains in the east. It’s breathtaking.
Almost equally striking is the change that occurs as the day progresses. Early in the day, it’s almost too much to conceive that such a lush expanse of cover could ever disappear, yet still it does, every day; the stridency of the summer sun wields its warmth with metronomic ferocity, burning away every last strand, and leaving only the heat and haze of the valley in its wake …