Julian & Temecula: Grape Stomp Time

Stretch those toes and limber up the heels; fall's juiciest happening is on the horizon.

START THOSE FOOT STRETCHES: Go to any site that deals with prepping people for a 5K or marathon and you're bound to see a few tips for keeping the toesies and heel and ball of the foot in fine form ahead of the big event. And so a runner should: The place where your body is meeting the road should stay in top-notch shape. But few sites work with the notion of the annual grape stomp tradition in this regard. And while the feet employed in stomping fruit in the fall don't put in the serious workout that feet receive in a 5K, there is an art to the pressure and bending of the foot when that foot is connecting with several grapes at once. Maybe there is a business opportunity here? For someone to advise those who wish to give the ancient art form of grape stomping a go? Toe stretches to do beforehand and then after the event? Our feet are our friends, after all. Best start those stretches now, ahead of autumn's arrival, for several Southern California spots will be rolling out the barrels -- er, tubs -- and filling them with small, round fruits, the better to have guests give the stomp a not-so-serious (but always lively) go. Game to try? Then make for...

JULIAN... where the Julian Grape Stomp Festa shall turn grapes into juice at Menghini Winery on Saturday, Sept. 5. There's a large tub and a small tub, and, as with all stomp-themed soirees, you should consider clothing that can be hiked a bit above the ankles, lest you get your pants stained. A dress? Shorts? Think over the wardrobe before heading up the mountain for merry footwork and, just perhaps, a glass of wine when your turn is through.

TEMECULA VALLEY: South Coast Winery Resort & Spa pairs its annual grape stomp with the Blessing of the Vines. A ticket is $55 for the Sunday, Sept. 20 to-do, and there's a hearty meal involved, plus a complimentary toast. Tunes, games, and other "welcome fall" high jinks on the schedule for this bash. There's also some dancing to be done, too, so figure that your feet will get a pre-workout in the grape tub before hitting the dance floor (or vice versa). 

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