SQUISH SQUISH: If you ever stand, in a group, inside a barrel, atop thousands of grapes, and you happen to be sockless and shoe-free, we're going to bet you're laughing. Hard. And if you're not laughing, you're at least smiling, singing, or making some sort of noise to indicate the not-so-easy-but-always-memorable art of grape-stomping. You saw the famous "I Love Lucy" episode, right? Yeah, there are high jinks to be found in the time-honored method of making wine. And while wine today is produced via stainless steel pressing devices and machines that measure liquids to the half-ounce, a few places around Southern California still invite oenophiles to kick off their kicks and make grape juice via a firmly delivered heel-toe roll. Curious to give grape-stompery a try? Head for...
PONTE WINERY: The Temecula spot doesn't merely give guests a chance to mash some small juicy orbs during their annual Grape Stomping Festival; they plan a full-on dinner buffet and day around the event. So figure you'll have some sustenance awaiting you after you put in all of those strenuous minutes in the barrel. Sunday, Sept. 29, $95 per person
KALYRA WINERY: There are a number of stomps in and around the Central Coast, but this one gets messy -- delightfully so, of course -- in the Santa Ynez Valley. You're invited to wear a toga, if you wish (you totally, totally should). Other haps include tunes and hayrides. Saturday, Sept. 21. Cost of The Great Grape Stomp? Fifty bucks.
MENGHINI WINERY: Julian's stompery gets going early -- so early, in fact, it will land on the first Saturday after Labor Day. That's Saturday, Sept. 7, and the day's events include bocce ball and, yep, the drinking of wine. You have to sample what you're making, right? Right. Admission is a cool ten bucks.