Saturday, January 8, 2011

Yellow and Gray - Napa Valley Mustard

One thing I look forward to every year around this time of year is the beautiful fields of wild mustard that sprout up all over the vineyards of Napa Valley. Just as the holidays are over and the cold, wet, rainy season is settling in, things seem to be a little drab... not much sunshine, not much warmth, not much livelihood in the valley, and not much festivity, either, with the winter holidays recently ending...

But then these tiny, vibrant yellow buds start to sprout between the leafless brown vines. From the wet winter mud sprouts a field of sunshine, like little constellations of bright yellow stars that suddenly bloom and proliferate, in some areas completely blanketing the ground. It's just a nice sight to see -- life when all seems lifeless, color when everything seems gray. It perks me up every time, and is one of my favorite times to just drive up and down through the valley, looking out the window.

These shots were taken in the vineyards off St. Helena Highway / Highway 29, next to the Whitehall Lane winery (which, by the way, I tasted at once... and to be honest, I think their wines are pretty awful.)

During this mustard season (late winter to early spring), there is also a Napa Valley Mustard Festival. I have never attended any of the events for this festival (some of them, like the opening gala and the grand dinner, are pretty expensive) but I'm thinking this is the year I check it out and see what it's like.

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