ON THE COVER: Santa Barbara County’s annual wine grape harvest is coming to a close this week, but not after vineyards from the Santa Maria Valley and Sta. Rita Hills to the Santa Ynez Valley picked what many winemakers are calling the tastiest fruit in years. Because the yields were lowin some places even 35 percent below normalwinemakers say the vines delivered stronger flavors to the grapes, which could make for the best vintage in county history. Such was the case at Star Lane Vineyards last Friday, where the cover image of a full purple bin was captured in the early morning light. Matt Kettmann reports on the harvest here, while Ethan Stewart gives a firsthand account of what it’s like to be part of the crush at Jaffurs Wine Cellars on Santa Barbara’s Eastside . Cover photograph by Paul Wellman.