October 4th, 2010 by Jim Beazley
It was harvest 1981, October 1st. Our mentors, Jack and Essie Doty–owners of Chalet Bernensis, were gone; not just out of town, but out of the COUNTRY!
They had taught us all we knew about innkeeping and then gave us the best possible send off: it was up to us: we could fly or flop. The Dotys, Napa Valley’s second B&B owners, were the reason we had become innkeepers.
It was an easy choice for us really…Carol had been a head nurse and I a photojournalist. We lived in Reno where I had been raised. We were both burned out of our careers and wanted a change.
Our first harvest was a total sensory experience.
The vines turn from green to gold to red, responding to the shorter Autumn days. The sun’s angle adds drama and an overall golden hue to mornings and late afternoons.
Workers crowd the vineyards picking the rapidly ripening fruit. The excitement is contagious as the fruit is rushed to the wineries. The crush has literally begun.
The fall air is pungent with the scent of fermenting grape juice and the stems and seeds which are spread in the newly harvested vineyards.
We were nearly overwhelmed with new guests and the experience of an entire community caught up in bringing in the harvest.
It was a time of promise of fine things to come, a memorable vintage for the Napa Valley and the beginning of a 30 year career of hosting happy guests for new innkeepers Carol and Jim Beazley.