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 Filed as : Winemaking

Put on Your Stomping Shoes!

Oct 8, 2012
Put on Your Stomping Shoes!
Crushing myths and traditions, then and now

lucygrapescene_Grape stomping is a custom associated with the harvest, going back to Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.

Dionysus’ life is symbolic of the vine’s life cycle. As legend goes, Dionysus was dismembered by Titans and returned to life, signifying vine pruning at season’s end, dormancy to rejuvenate in winter and rebirth in spring.

Festivals honoring Dionysus still exist, with pigeage (French for grape stomping) central to those rituals. Stomping is symbolic of dismembering vines (just as the Titans did to Dionysus) by crushing grapes (breaking the flesh) and releasing the juices.

Renewed interest in grape stomping came with the 1956 “I Love Lucy” episode when Lucy and Ethel stomped grapes in Italy, with comedic consequences.

Grape stomping is rarely practiced today, though many wineries sponsor grape stomping festivals, with proceeds often donated to charity (the juice is either discarded or used as fertilizer).

That said, Portugal still uses stomped grapes in some Port wines. And the practice also continues in a few small wineries in Spain and in Cinque Terre, Italy.

Have you ever been to a wine stomping festival? Tell us below.


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HI There - If you have a camera and wish to see about 1 ton of mourvedre foot stomped, it will be happening today. This is final element (?) to Edmunds St. John's proprietery blend rocks and gravel. All of the grapes are sourced from the Unti Vineyard. The grenace sits in a cement tank and the syrah is nestled beside it in bins. I am there twice daily punching down the cap. Steve chose to foot stomp some extra syrah that the purchased last year and due to the time as well scheduling , the mourvedre is being treated the same way today. FYI, this blend is vinified at the Rock Wall Winery on Alameda point as it has for the last few years. I have worked with Steve on this wine as well as others over the last 20+ years, less five when I was the proprietor of the restaurant. Steve's # 510-981-1510, for better information etc. address for Rock Wall : 2301 Monarch StreetAlameda, CA 94501 (510) 522-5700 Thanks for reading all of this, Lou Salerno

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