If you’re like most people, the first thing you ask when you hear about grape stomps is: What? Grape stomping is on no list of good-ideas-for-a-first-date, or for any other date, either.
No matter, in the continuing quest to leverage the squeezing of grapes to result in the squeezing of tourist dollars, grape stomping is busting out all over. Here’s a handy guide:
September 17 – 19 — The Carlos Creek Winery will be stomping grapes in Alexandria, Minnesota. This is one of the few grape stomping festivals that also includes a display of wood sculpture produced by lumberjacks wielding chainsaws. 200 stomping teams, many of them wearing peasant garb (in Minnesota, I’m guessing sweatpants and flannel shirts) square off in a competition to see who can get the grapes stomped before the entire upper midwest freezes over.
September 25 – 26 — Grape Stomp at Festa Italiano in Seattle. Watch the effects-happy video if you have absolutely nothing else to do, including oral surgery. After signing a release that acknowledges “the risks involved,” teams of three (stomper, swabber, claims adjuster) crush 20 gallons of grapes for three minutes. The winner is the team that gets injured in a way that will allow them to sue the event sponsors despite having signed the release.
September 26 — The 8th Annual Grape Stomp Festival at Ponte Family Estates in Temecula (motto: combining the smog of Los Angeles with the vibrant urbanism of Rolling Meadows, Illinois.). The web site recommends that you “roll up your sundress,” in my opinion a sound idea even if you’re just sitting around my living room. Ticket are $95, which is a lot of money to pay for the opportunity to labor like a Pelopennesian slave.
October 2 — 17th Annual Calaveras Grape Stomp. Calaveras County started the grape stomp mania after being forced by authorities to cancel its previously popular frog stomp. The Calaveras Stomp is a competition involving teams of two. Apparently, stomp sponsors don’t want anyone to work too hard. The winners receive discounts on Calaveras County wines.
October 6 — The Kirkland, Washington, Grape Stomp has been postponed until October 6 due to a lack of grapes. The harvest is running a little behind schedule, and apparently no one thought of going to the grocery store.
Finally, for those of you awaiting the results of the Swiss Wine Festival Celebrity Grape Stomp in Vevay, Indiana, we remind you that, down Vevay way, “celebrity” is very broadly defined. So broadly defined, in fact, that actual notoriety doesn’t enter the picture. So if there was anyone who had placed money on “professional blogger and social media expert” Eric Decker, your winnings await. On the off-chance that no one bet on Mr. Decker, the betting pool will roll over to next year’s festival.