A sure sign of autumn in the Santa Ynez Valley is the return of the tarantulas. This is the time of year - the warmest days in our region - that the arachnids are leaving hillside nests in search of mates.
This year's weather threw several curve balls to New York growers-an early, warm spring, a sudden cold snap in April, and a hot, dry summer. But while some vineyards report a reduced crop, many anticipate that wines made from this season's grapes will be big on flavor.
Shipments of Americans' long-standing go-to alcoholic drink are rising for the first time since 2008 in another sign that consumers-particularly young men-are slowly but surely emerging from the recession