Winter is approaching Napa Valley, which is always a reflective time of year. The ground is soggy with the first storms, and the leaves that have not fallen yet are brilliant red and gold. The light is gone by five, and we can often smell wood smoke in the air from our neighbors’ houses. When the sky clears in the morning light you can see clear across the valley floor to the Mayacamas Mountains. The light from San Pablo Bay flickers in the south, and then there is the silence.
From Beryl Markham we learn, “There are all kinds of silence and each of them means a different thing.” Not only the midnight silence of the vineyards and the little towns of St. Helena and Yountville, but the silence of a cold sun. The silence of an empty road. The silence of men and women working in the field, broken occasionally by feral cries. The kind of “silence that can emanate from a lifeless object.” The silence of wine, a “soundless echo” of the people and place from which it emerged.
And so another year quietly comes to a close, and in the sacred places of our homes we gather with friends and family, and in this brief spell we raise our glasses to years passed and the year to come. We wish you and your families the most joyous of holidays.
There is still time to place an order for Christmas delivery: with shipping in California, please place your order by Saturday the 20th; all other states, by end of day Thursday, December 18th.