Stomping Around Wine Country | Willamette Valley | Oregon / by Jade Helm

How does an afternoon jogging in place sound?  What if sticky and sweaty were guaranteed?  Doesn’t sound fun?  Bet you would change your mind if that jogging were actually grape stomping - or the more technical term “treading.”

Prizes are awarded for the Best Costume Photo credit to Willamette Valley Vineyards

Prizes are awarded for the Best Costume
Photo credit to Willamette Valley Vineyards

Teams getting ready to stomp Photo credit to Willamette Valley Vineyards

Teams getting ready to stomp
Photo credit to Willamette Valley Vineyards

It is hard to describe the appeal.  Is it that famous episode where Lucy and Ethel got down and dirty in Italy? Is it the traditional ideal of young peasant women holding up their long skirts, dancing inside a vat,  while the village musicians play to celebrate the harvest?   Because of course old men with crusty feet NEVER stomped grapes.

Whatever the reason, we seem drawn to this ancient activity.  If you live in wine country or are planning a harvest visit, I encourage you to “dip your toes” into the local scene.   As for me, I will be getting my feet sticky at Willamette Valley Vineyards 25th Annual Oregon Grape Stomp Championships and Harvest Celebration September 19th and 20th.

Grape stomp bucket Photo credit to Willamette Valley Vineyards

Grape stomp bucket
Photo credit to Willamette Valley Vineyards

Participants compete in teams of two (one stomper and one swabbie).  Swabbies hold the bucket and catch the juice.  Swabbies also reach inside the barrel, carefully avoiding getting their fingers stomped, to direct the juice into the spout.  Swabbie sounds like the short end of the stick if you ask me.

Kid Stomp Photo credit to Willamette Valley Vineyards

Kid Stomp
Photo credit to Willamette Valley Vineyards

This is a big event.  There are 12 heats each day with approximately 16 teams each heat.  Success is measured in the amount of juice squished out.  The winners from each heat compete at the end of the day then the two finalists have a stomp off for the grand prize.  And the grand prize is - drumroll please - MORE STOMPING!  The  winners get to take their sticky feet on a trip  to Santa Rosa to compete in the World Grape Stomp Championship.

Prizes are also awarded for Best Costume.  That’s right.  I have been told to expect Bacchus inspired costumes, matching custom made team t-shirts, wine-themed accessories/jewelry, crazy hats and of course, Lucy and Ethel costumes.  I think I will wear something machine washable.

For those who just want to enjoy the spectacle there will be live music, “festival style” food pairings, and of course wine.  Don’t worry.  No one put their stinky feet in the wine.  That juice is from “trimmings’ and is  used for compost only.  The event is also family friendly with a Kid’s Stomp at 3 pm each day.

Here are the rest of the details. Happy Harvest!

Date: September 19 and 20

Time: 11 am - 6 pm

Location: Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Vineyard in Turner, Oregon

Admission: $15 includes wine tasting and live music

Competition: $10 registration per team

To sign-up call 503-588-9463

For more information visit wvv.com