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Five reasons to visit Paso Robles wine country 

Len Napolitano

Len Napolitano

Author and wine expert Len Napolitano shares five reasons for visiting wine country this fall

PASO ROBLES – Until the end of October, wine regions across the country celebrate harvest. It’s the best time of year to tour wine country for its non-stop activity and all-around eye-catching beauty, says Len Napolitano, author of Nose, Legs, Body! Know Wine Like The Back of Your Hand.

“Visiting wine country is always fun, educational and memorable any time of year, but right now it’s peak season for all three,” says Napolitano, whose fast and simple wine book for beginners is a “best seller” in winery tasting rooms. Napolitano offers the following reasons for an autumn visit to your favorite wine region:


1. Inhale the pungent aromas of fermenting grapes.

The fragrance produced from the conversion of sugar to alcohol is hard to describe. It has sweetness to it and a hint of alcohol. For many, just a short whiff is an intoxicating delight.

2. Witness grape processing in action.

Wine production facilities bustle with activity, from truckers transporting bins of just-picked grapes from vineyard to winery, to crews sorting grapes alongside a conveyor, to the sound of machines crushing and pressing grapes, to cellar workers filling new barrels with wine. When visiting, ask if you can take a peek inside the facility to watch the action. By November, most wines will be in cellar, quietly aging until bottling, which could be as soon as early 2014 or as late as 2016, depending on the type of wine and the winemaker’s desires.

3. Catch the changing colors on the grapevines.

The leaves on grapevines start transitioning from green to gold this time of year. Bring your camera!

4. Explore the picturesque, tree-lined back roads in search of a new favorite winery.

When traffic slows the main drag running through wine country, it’s the perfect moment to take an unplanned detour along the back roads and hit some wineries outside the mainstream. Take this opportunity to find a hidden gem that would have otherwise been missed.

5. Experience being in the “eye of the storm.”

When you visit wine country at harvest, also known as “crush,” you are in the center of the action. Crush is the talk of the town in restaurants, on sidewalks and in tasting rooms. If you’re a wine beginner, it’s a great time to advance your wine education by listening and asking lots of questions!

About Len Napolitano

Len Napolitano was enjoying a career in engineering when he realized his skills in technical sales, writing, and marketing could be combined with his passion for—and knowledge in—wine. That’s when he exchanged his calculator for a cabernet. He was the “wineologist” on TV’s Fine Living Network from 2003 to 2010 and now explains complexity with clarity in his weekly wine column for Wine Country This Week magazine. Len has certification from both the Society of Wine Educators and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

His book, Nose Legs, Body! Know Wine Like The Back of Your Hand, is available on, and the book website:



About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.