Wine County is Quiet. Right?
Actually, wine country is not as quiet as you may believe. I’ve been living in wine country in Templeton, California, since 1993. It’s zoned for agriculture. We are pretty much surrounded by vineyards, though we don’t grow anything ourselves except for our own use. Since most of our vineyard neighbors have double or electric fences, we seem to be the neighborhood haven for deer, raccoons, possums, skunks, ground squirrels, gophers, badgers, rabbits, and other native wildlife.
Ah, I forgot the birds. I love to hear the great horned owl’s lullaby when I’m trying to fall asleep. But since I normally write until the wee small hours of the morning, I’m not as fond of the woodpecker alarm clock on the overhang of my bedroom with first light.
Some afternoons and early evenings when I’m working in the garden, I enjoy blessed quiet or cheerful birdsong. Other times there is the cacophony of farm machinery, weed whackers, chippers, and chainsaws –some of them ours. In the photo above is a view from my fenced garden area. It looks across the highway at a vineyard not far away.
Although you wouldn’t think that when homes are on parcels of ten acres or more you’d hear your neighbors’ parties and animals, you do. Our neighbor across the highway (See photo above.) used to have an outdoor aviary. Among the birds were parrots. We heard them squawking all the time, and when people talked outside on their hilltop, we could sometimes understand the words.
That is their home, as seen from my yard just outside my back door. The white building you see most clearly in the foreground is fairly new. The real family home where all the action takes place is between the trees at the top of the hill. Their aviary was to the left of their house. I think they would be amazed at how sound carries down to us.
Vineyards Are Lovely but Often Noisy
Most of the time it’s very peaceful living in wine country, but not always. Our neighbor whose home you see above — the same neighbor who had the aviary — started growing grapes several years ago. His crew liked to listen to talk radio full blast while they worked. Often there is the sound of farm machinery, like the tractor in my neighbor’s vineyard that I often hear when I’m working in my garden, from which I taped the video below. This vineyard is the view from my kitchen window. It almost looks like it’s part of my yard, but it’s actually across the highway from me. The highway itself is hidden by the hills. It’s a five-minute drive, but I’ve visited it and walked through that vineyard.
Many times when I’ve been working in my garden, the crews who cultivate and weed the vineyards are also working in this vineyard and in the Croad vineyard in the photo below. Sometimes the crew members shout to one another. Sometimes they sing. I wish I could have gotten that on video. All I could get of the crews was the harvest crew at work.
I have spent a lot of time walking through my neighbor’s vineyards and wineries with my camera, as you can see. I have turned some of my photos into posters, mugs, shirts, puzzles, electronic cases, drink coasters, postage stamps, postcards, and other print-on-demand products that make wonderful souvenirs or gifts from wine country. Most of those below were taken from my own property, looking onto my neighboring properties, or they were taken at vineyards of other close neighbors. Just click on these images or the links below them for prices and more information at Zazzle.
The posters just below were all taken from my own property, looking over to a neighbor’s property. The first was taken over my garden fence and looks toward the Rotta vineyards. The second was taken over my back fence looking up the hill over the Croad vineyard to the silhouette of the Croad tasting room on the hill. It’s one of my favorite places to capture the sunset. I took the shot for the last poster while standing in my driveway, looking east on Highway 46 West toward Paso Robles. The greeting card in the second row looks over my side fence at the ZinAlley vineyard below Croad’s, southwest toward Highway 46 West’s intersection with Vineyard Drive and the Donati Tasting Room.
Poster: I love California wine country. PosterSun Goes Down On Wine Country PosterPoster: Blue Skies Over West Templeton, CA PosterYoung Green Grapes on the Vine in Spring iPad Mini CoverMug: Vineyard scene Coffee MugTempleton Wine Country at the End of May CardPatio of Croad Tasting Room, Paso Robles Jigsaw PuzzleCoaster: Fruit of the Vine Sandstone CoasterPostcard, Wine Country in Templeton, CA PostcardMug-Templeton CA Wine Country Coffee MugDrink Coaster with Young Green Grapes on the Vine
The video below was taken one day during the 2010 harvest at Croad Vineyards, my neighbor across the fence. It’s easy to see the fence line here, and I shot the video over the fence. The Croad tasting room is having an event with music that carries down to me. Some of the harvesters appear to be whistling along. Events with loud music often send music down to me I wouldn’t choose to listen to, but that’s what happens when your neighbors are wineries. To see the rest of the videos from this harvest, see my post Life in Wine Country During the Grape Harvest.
Do you still think living in wine country is quiet? I didn’t even mention the howling and the yipping of the coyotes who come hunting my neighbor’s cats. Do you or have you ever lived in a rural area? If so, what sounds sometimes disturb your peace and quiet?
Quiet or Not, Living in Wine Country is Still Appealing Compared to City Life
Although, as I’ve pointed out, wine country does have its noisy moments, the city is even noisier. When we stay in our Paso Robles house near shopping centers, I notice the difference. Most vineyard noise is seasonal or only on weekends when wineries have events. In our city home, every neighbor seems to have the gardener come with power equipment on a different day. We have that noise almost daily. Sirens scream at us day and night. Neighbors who park on the street next to our house warm up diesel engines and slam car doors at all hours. And then there are the motorcycles and noisy scooters that go by frequently, some at 4 am.
Were I to leave living in wine country for good, I’d miss watching the pruning in the dormant season, the first buds on the vines in spring, the lush greenery in summer, and the beauty of the autumn vines as they change color. I’d miss the peace of gardening on the many quiet days when the only sound is birdsong. Most of all I’d miss the lullaby of the crickets and owls as I’m falling asleep. That’s why I still love living in wine country.