10 Simple Ways To Celebrate Fall
- The Latest
October 26, 2020
While summertime is a rich whirlwind of outdoor activities, cooling off by the pool and savoring BBQ well into the evening, there’s something quintessentially charming about the fall. As the days start to cool and we begin to break out our sweaters, the onset of fall is always a special time. While 2020 will no doubt see a different kind of seasonal celebration taking place due to necessary social distancing, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and still find ways to relish life’s little joys!
Here in the beautiful Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, this change of season marks the winding down of harvest and the beginning of a period of welcome rest and reflection as the young 2020 wines transition into barrels for aging. In honor of our favorite seasonal shift, we sat down with third-generation Trefethen vintners, Hailey and Lorenzo, and asked them to share their top 10 favorite ways to enjoy the cooler weather and usher in fall.
Lorenzo and Hailey Trefethen toast to the shift in seasons
1. Eat With The Seasons
Fall brings with it the tastiest selection of vegetables, rich in nutrients, diverse in flavor, and sharing a radiant rainbow of autumnal shades. As the nights get chillier, we don’t blame you if your craving for heartier meals starts to set in. At Trefethen, what started as a side project for our vineyard crew has become a full-fledged vegetable garden, fondly called La Huerta. Autumn sees La Huerta in a delicious overlap of the last of summer produce, including ten different tomato varieties and innumerable chilies, and the first of our winter squashes. Butternut, acorn, delicata, as well as multiple pumpkin varieties, decorate the ground.
Lorenzo and Hailey grew up eating everything straight off the estate, and have a tremendous appreciation for the bounties of Mother Nature. “As gardening has always been a part of our lives, we want to share the joy of eating fresh food that comes straight off the farm with as many people as possible,” says Hailey. That’s why the Trefethen team receives a regular delivery of seasonal vegetables off the land, which they can then share with their families. When asked what their favorite seasonal pairing is, Lorenzo is quick to answer: “Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce and Fresh Sage, paired with a bottle of Trefethen Chardonnay.” Mmmh, hungry yet? Perhaps the best part of eating and cooking up a storm is that you can also do it in the safety of your home, and only the lucky few around you will get to munch the results!
2. Make The Most Of The Great Outdoors
According to Lorenzo and Hailey, there’s no better way to appreciate the changing landscape during fall than by getting out into nature before the cold weather truly sets in. When they’re not running things at the Trefethen estate, the sibling duo count Skyline Park in Napa as one of their favorite places to hike. “Really interesting things can happen on these hikes – a few years ago my wife and I saw thousands of ladybugs in a gorge that were preparing to hibernate. It’s quite spectacular to catch everything in transition,” shares Lorenzo. Perhaps you may see something unexpected and if not, the special sight of fall will no doubt suffice. Making the most of the outdoors is an excellent idea for both your mental and physical well-being.
3. Embrace Your Inner Child
Besides the evergreens, many trees lose their leaves during this time of year, and while yes, that may mean having to get out into the yard to do more maintenance work, it also offers up the opportunity to embrace your inner child and be playful. If you have children (or if not!), make a big pile, and then jump in! You could also plan a neighborhood walk with your family and turn it into a leaf gathering excursion. After you’ve gathered as many different types of leaves as possible, get crafty by creating an Ikebana style decorative arrangement, or paste the leaves into frames or scrapbooks for lasting memories.
“Really interesting things can happen on these hikes – a few years ago my wife and I saw thousands of ladybugs in a gorge that were preparing to hibernate. It’s quite spectacular to catch everything in transition,” shares Lorenzo.
4. Zoom Straight Into ‘Happy Hour’
With COVID-19 still requiring social distancing, one of the most inventive ways of socializing has been the ‘Zoom Happy Hour.’ “They are quite therapeutic and fun,” laughs Hailey. She enjoys the connection they bring, even from afar. “I recently did a call with my friends where we all prepared the same side dish and enjoyed the same drink – a Trefethen wine of course!” If you find you’re suffering from ‘Zoom fatigue’, Lorenzo suggests reinvigorating your next virtual hang by turning it into a costume party, especially if you’re celebrating something like a birthday.
5. Time For Sticky Fingers!
While BBQs and summer go hand-in-hand, for Lorenzo and Hailey, fall is actually a great time for outdoor social gatherings. “In Napa, we are fortunate to enjoy occasional extended summers, with the warm weather extending into late October,” explains Hailey. Usually a summertime activity, outdoor barbecues are a perfect way to make the most of the remaining warm days and nights. Spending time with your family or a close cohort of friends is permitted, so be responsible but also make time to enjoy yourself and relax. A calm evening with candles dotted around the yard, the smell of grilled lamb (or vegetables, depending on your preferences) filling the air, and the background banter of those nearest and dearest to you does wonders for your sanity. Why not top the evening off by bringing out the marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers and making s’mores?
6. Appreciate The Vibrant Colors
“When I was a student and had friends from other states up to Napa in fall, many of them would comment, saying they didn’t realize that California had seasons until they got here,” laughs Lorenzo. While the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley is striking throughout all cycles of the year, there is a particular magic during fall. “The valley turns a verdant green, red, and gold,” describes Hailey. Our top tip is to take the time to go for a drive or a cycle through the valley and admire the changing hues of the vineyards against the backdrop of vibrant green young grasses. Your Instagram feed will thank you.
7. Add Some Spice To Your Life
Along with the changing hues of the vineyards, the shades of brown, cedar, mahogany, and maple also align when it comes to the kinds of spices we start using in traditional baking. Think ginger, cinnamon, cloves – the list is endless and the flavors are mouthwatering. Hailey shares that a personal favorite fall recipe is her mother-in-law’s delicious ginger tea cake. “Another favorite fall trick to get into the spirit of the season is to create your own ‘smell good pot.’ My friend always does it. All you need to do is put a pot of water on the stove and add spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peel to it. Let it simmer slowly and fill your house with a waft of cozy aromatics,” she says. Whatever your recipe ideas, get creative in the kitchen or revisit some old favorites like pumpkin pie, apple cake, and crunchy gingerbread men.
8. Pass Along The Tradition Of Thanksgiving
As Thanksgiving draws closer, it is a valuable reminder to practice gratitude. While 2020 has by no means been smooth sailing, Thanksgiving offers us all the opportunity to take stock and share in traditions. For the Trefethen family, Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays, as it is the only time the entire group is all under one roof. “We spend it at our parent’s home, helping mom cook up a storm. It’s always a feast!” recalls Hailey. Meanwhile, Lorenzo reflects on his student years, suggesting that if you have any international friends who do not celebrate Thanksgiving, you should consider inviting them to your family gathering. “When I was in college I had a few international friends that we lovingly called ‘The Thanksgiving Homeless.’ I would always invite them home to Napa and introduce them to my favorite holiday,” Lorenzo remembers fondly.
9. Visit A Winery or Local Farm
If the madness of 2020 has caught up with you, our top tip is to escape the city and head out to your nearest farm or favorite winery. After all, fresh air and connecting to nature is inherently good for you, and there’s so much to see and learn on working farms. The Trefethen siblings definitely know the value of appreciating the source of their sustenance. With their very own vegetable farm on the estate, they have done their best to ensure the Trefethen crew continue to receive regular fruit and vegetable deliveries, despite the remote working. “It’s important to eat fresh produce and get all your vitamins – now more than ever!” smiles Lorenzo. “There’s also real value in getting in touch with where your food comes from. It encourages you to be grateful for each bite!”
For the Trefethen family, Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays, as it is the only time the entire group is all under one roof. “We spend it at our parent’s home, helping mom cook up a storm. It’s always a feast!” recalls Hailey.
10. Get Spooked With A Halloween Movie Night
Whether you’re big or small, most of us are suckers for Halloween. At Trefethen, this couldn’t ring more true. “Halloween is a trip at Trefethen!” exclaims Lorenzo. “Normally our team is BIG into Halloween, so they dress up and go all out.” While this year will be a little different due to COVID-19, if you visit the estate during this holiday, you will typically find elaborate Halloween decorations from floor to ceiling in our historic winery, where its moody interior lends itself well to the decor. While social distancing is still in place, a wonderful way to enjoy Halloween is to curl up on the couch with your loved one and watch your favorite scary movie. Complete the spooky affair with plenty of blankets, and naturally, some traditional snacks. Lorenzo and Hailey prefer a household favorite prepared by their mom, who rustles up popcorn sprinkled with truffle salt and pairs it with a bottle of crisp, dry bubbles. Now there’s a pairing you won’t find in your local movie theater!