Test your grape-stomping skills at these fall festivals
The autumn grape harvest, also called “crush,” starts the process of turning grapes into wine. It’s generally the busiest time of the year for vintners, and it’s also when your feet can be an extra help.
The 17th Grape Stomp is set for Ponte Winery on Sept. 22. However, it’s more than just a grape-smashing competition. The annual event includes gourmet hors d’oeuvres, entrees and desserts as well as live music and dancing. (Check website below for ticket prices and other details.)
On Sept. 28, Peltzer Winery will be the venue for Stomp Out Cancer benefiting Charity for Charity. The event will include grape stomps, food trucks, wine and craft beer. (It’s also opening day for Peltzer Pumpkin Farm, open through Oct. 31.) Visitors will discover pig races, pony rides, carnival games and train rides. On weekends, there’s a petting farm as well as food-truck vendors.
Then on Oct. 5, dress up and break out your inner Lucy (as in Lucille Ball from “I Love Lucy,” who famously stomped grapes in a peasant’s costume in one episode) for the Sip, Stomp & Play event at Callaway Vineyard & Winery. You might win a prize for your outfit — or your grape-stomping skills. Family-friendly festivities include live music, dancing, face-painting and down-home chow.
Venture to Northern California to feel grapes squish between your toes at Grgich Hills Estate’s Seasonal Grape Stomp in Rutherford from Friday through Oct. 27. Among the other Napa crush events, visitors can squash grapes at the Crush Party on Oct. 5 at V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena and at the Great Grape Stomp on Oct. 19 at Conn Creek Winery in St. Helena.
On Oct. 5, the 26th Calaveras Grape Stomp will bring together costumed teams of two from across the state. They will compete to see who can produce the most juice in three minutes of grape stomping. Also, the Gold Rush Street Faire will offer more than 100 booths featuring handmade jewelry, art, crafts, antiques, clothing and food.
On Sept. 21 and 22, the 36th Grapestomping Festival will feature — you guessed it — grape flattening at St. Josef’s Winery south of Portland, Ore. Started as a locals’ party before the crush, the festival now includes stomping events in a 1,200-gallon oak barrel, large enough to to fill 5,000 bottles of wine. Visitors find live music and food, including gluten-free items and locally-made specialties such as sausage and sauerkraut.
The Festival of the Grape in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley wine country is set for Oct. 6. The festival, which usually draws 4,500 merrymakers, will include a grape stomp, live music, dancing, food trucks and a fall arts-and-crafts show, plus a kids zone. VIPs will be able to take classes and chat with local and regional vintners.
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