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Fall in the wine country — a special time to visit

Erin Troy, Green Dream tour guide, toasts fall in the vineyard.

Green Dream tour guide Erin Troy toasts fall in the vineyard.

Erin Troy has been leading wine country tours for Green Dream since May of 2012. We spoke to her about what’s going on in the vineyards now.

Can you give us a preview of fall in the wine country?

Harvest is my favorite time of year to be up there. They call it the crush and it’s when Napa and Sonoma are buzzing.

You get to see production going on – from workers hand-picking grapes to truckloads of fruit being delivered to the wineries. It’s one of the most beautiful times in California wine country. The leaves on the vines are turning gold, orange and rust. The angle of the sun produces that golden glow and the air smells like wine.

What questions do your groups ask about the crush?

People want to know when grapes are harvested. It’s an ongoing process starting in late summer and continuing into early fall. The wineries measure the sugar levels of the grapes to decide when they’re ready to pick. In warmer seasons they harvest earlier and when it’s been cooler, they harvest later.

Are there advantages to visiting at this time of year?

The vines turn beautiful oranges and rusts in the fall in California's wine country.

Wine country vineyard wears brilliant fall colors.

It’s a little past the peak summer tourist season, so tasting room visitors get more personal attention. And because it’s harvest time, you’ll see more of the winemaking process. There’s a sense of change in the air as the grapes come to the end of life on the vine and begin the transformation into wine.

What do you like most about leading wine country tours?

I love taking daily tours up to wine country because it’s beautiful and consistently better weather than San Francisco. And, it’s fun meeting visitors from all over the world who are on vacation and in a good mood.

When people have a special request, Green Dream arranges a private tour, so I often get to visit wineries that are not on our usual itinerary.

I’ve always been interested in wine, but being a tour guide has given me more appreciation of what goes into each bottle. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with my tour groups.

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Private winery tours
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