Feet have been used to crush wine for thousands of years. Ancient Romans drank wine, and it is believed that they stomped their grapes back in 200 BC to extract the juice. It makes sense to use the weight of the body to press down on grapes – it is certainly less tiring than pressing down with hands, or turning a press. Plus, stomping can easily be a group activity, and a celebratory one at that; and the creation of wine is nothing if not cause for celebration.
In the United States, stomping grapes for the production of wine has been banned since the end of the twentieth century. Americans just can’t seem to stomach mixing feet with wine. The practice of stomping grapes is still used by some small wineries in Portugal and Spain, but it is a rare practice, indeed.
Still, stomping grapes is fun. Ever since the 1950s, when lovable Lucille Ball was seen stomping grapes on an episode of I Love Lucy, Americans have wanted to have a go at it. Grape-stomping festivals have sprung up around the country during harvest time, to satisfy the unquenchable desire to crush grapes with feet. Fear not, no wine is produced from this process.
Visitors are invited to stomp away during the Wet Whistle Wine Fest at our Algoma Wisconsin winery. So bring your feet September 19 and 20, 2009 (please make sure they are clean!), and prepare to stomp to your heart’s content.