Grape Stomps: On the Horizon

Squish, squish, squish away in both Julian and Temecula Valley.

HAVE YOU BEEN STRETCHING... your tootsies since summer started? Have you been doing arch squats, and heel thrusts, and all of the micro movements that keep your feetsies in primo shape? Then you likely have an eye on what's just ahead, in August and September, at a number of wineries around California: grape stomping. Wineries, as rule, use other methods for separating juice from skin, of course, but a number of vino-making places also choose, charmingly, to honor this age-old, oh-so-hallowed tradition when summer begins to meld into fall. And they don't honor it on their own, you can bet your favorite chardonnay; rather, the public is invited to visit, kick off the ol' shoes, and step into a squishable, deep-of-fruit barrel. It is bucket list-type stuff for oenophiles, and even those people who don't drink wine all that often, and it can happen at a number of easy-to-get-to spots, including...

JULIAN: The mountain town is famous for its crisp, pie-ready apples, but come the time around Labor Day? It's all about the Julian Grape Stomp Festa. The 21st go-around for this grape-glam go-out is Saturday, Sept. 2, and the place is Menghini Winery. Shall there be bocce ball to play, live Italian tunes to savor, and the chance to sip a local wine or two? There shall be, so best limber up the balls of those feet, pronto. You'll have an earlier chance, in fact, to show your stomp-worthy stuff at Ponte Winery in Temecula. Your date with the step-inside barrel, an experience of pure fruitlicious squishability? It's Sunday, Aug. 20. There's a competitive spirit to the afternoon, all in cheerful fun, and chances to snack and quaff, too. So, is your favorite vineyard doing a grape stomp this year? The lively events are not found at every winery around the Golden State, but it is worth checking in to see if a winery you love, or a wine country region you favor, is welcoming grape-stompers for some racuous, gotta-try-it-once stomping. 

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