Foppiano Vineyard’s Frost Fan

While biking to visit a friend employed at Christopher Creek Winery, I abruptly turned off Limerick Lane at the railroad tracks and kicked up a cloud of dust behind me. A towering fan above Foppiano’s sauvignon blanc vineyard had caught my eye and I wanted to get a quick drawing of it. Once the dust settled, I swung myself off the bike, leaned it against a eucalyptus tree and pulled out my sketchbook. This morning was a little warmer than most because dense morning fog had held in the previous day’s warmth. But now the sun had broken through the mist, and the coastal range of mountains was visible in the distance.

Healdsburg averages over forty inches of rain a year, but this year may be an exception since we’ve only received half our average. Without clouds and the rains that accompany them, nights get extra cold and frost dusts the landscape in a blanket of powdery white. Although beautiful in the early morning, the frost doesn’t bode well for plants, especially early-budding grape vines. To protect the delicate buds from frostbite, many farmers use tall fans above the vineyards to capture the warmer air hovering just above the cold.

One problem with the fans is that they are incredibly noisy and so are unpopular among neighbors. They’re said to sound like a loud lawn mower or even worse, an airplane taking off. Averaging 70 to 80 decibels each, one can understand why they wouldn’t please those living nearby. Closer into town, the use of much quieter, traditional overhead sprinklers is often used as a frost deterrent.

After putting the finishing touches on my sketch, I gathered my drawing supplies in my backpack and rode up the hill toward Christopher Creek tasting room.

10 thoughts on “Foppiano Vineyard’s Frost Fan

  1. Thanks Steven! I was trying to capture some of the lingering morning fog up against the hillsides.

  2. another beautiful sketch. You are so lucky to be living in a gorgeous place with lots of things to sketch and paint. What shades of blue do you use?

  3. Thanks Claire, I do feel lucky to live where I do. But every place has it’s assets and fun stuff to draw! !
    In regards to my color palette, I wrote up a post on Flickr a while back so check it out! .

  4. Forty inches of rain a year sounds perfect to me! Your sketch pulls me in, I can hear the fan now, but I’m tuning it out and focusing on the beauty of that distant pale purple mountain.

  5. Thanks for the comment Jean! I’ve never heard the fans myself but I sure would want my vineyard withering in the freezing cold!

  6. I love how you combine your pedaling and painting activities. When I see you’ve updated your blog I know there’s a new adventure to been seen.

  7. Thanks Jude! I do like adventures and if I can combine biking and sketching too, it’s even more fun!

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