Stomping on grapes has been a dream of mine for some time.
When I finally got to fulfill this dream it was not as romantic as I had envisioned. In fact it was downright competitive, but also a stompin’ good time.
My first stomp was at Willamette Valley Vineyards. Two days, 12 heats per day, and the winner gets an all expense paid trip to a national stomp off in Santa Rosa, CA. Willamette Valley Vineyards has been doing this event for years and has the process down to a science. Everyone gets the same amount of grapes in their barrel. For fairness sake all of the grapes are stored the same. No one gets the advantage of sun warmed grapes ready to burst from the heat.
Everyone lines up to hear the rules. First the prompt, “And if anyone breaks the rules they will be what?” Then the contestants answer in joyful unison, “Disqualified.”
Teams are announced and most have funny team names. Warning, if you meet one of the Stomping Studs and Wine Wenches, they are ringers. They come in a group, a “swarm” they call it, sometimes 25 strong. They converge on the scene from Washington State, Texas, California, etc. These stomping aficionados began coming to the Willamette Valley Vineyards stomp 11 years ago and they win more often than they lose.
When we interviewed them their first question was, “You don’t want to know our secrets do you?” Well, we did after they said that! Silly secrets included the requirement to drink while training and to fatten up closer to the stomp. Stomping Stud patted his belly and said, “I am normally into Cross Fit. This is strictly for competition.”
We learned a few secrets from participating in the stomp. Maybe we are a little hard core too because we don’t plan to tell you.
We will tell you that if you live in or are traveling to the Pacific Northwest, you can easily find a place to stomp. See our list in Northwest Travel Magazine. You may run into us because we are now in it to win it. Well, unless Stomping Stud and the Wine Wench show up.
For more on the grape stomping festival at Willamette Valley Vineyards read our account in Wine Tourist Magazine.
Jen Martin (Vino Travels) says
Sounds like a lot of fun!
I would definitely do it again.