Harvest Sweet: Stomping Grapes in Sonoma County

Limber up the toesies, stompers.

World Championship Grape Stomp

QUALIFYING STOMP: We're called upon to do and be many things in this life. Maybe we have to helm the park picnic or oversee the cupcake drive or volunteer to wash all the dogs on the block for a good cause or read every Jane Austen novel by the end of summer (and "Pride & Prejudice" twice, of course). But we rarely have the opportunity to pencil the word "stomp" onto our calendar or call ourselves "stompers" or "stompees" or even describe our talents as particularly "stomp-a-rrific." That can change come fall when loads of small, glistening grapes need their juices separated from their skins, all with a pretty good end goal in mind: wine. For sure, we rely on industry and machinery to do some of our human-touch work nowadays, but there are still a few spots in a few wine countries around the state that ask people to remove their shoes, and socks, too, please, and roll up those pant cuffs. The Sonoma County Harvest Fair is one of the biggest stompee scenes around, as there are numerous barrels lined up in a row (some wineries bring out a single barrel so that visitors may give the ancient art a whirl). And, for sure, there are spigots below, where all of their hard work, taken liquid form, may be captured in jugs and such. Tempted? Then make for Santa Rosa from...

OCT. 3 THROUGH 5: The fair mentions that stompers hail from spots around the globe, and teams form to compete for greatness, laughs, and a few stained articles of clothing along the way. (Of course; you want visual proof that you put some effort into it.) There are also Stomps After Dark, if you like to squish fruit underfoot by the glowing light of dusk. Key, though? Signing up early -- Sept. 22 is the date -- and planning your team's costumes/outfits. Wedding dresses have been spied in the past, and other sartorial zaniness. We'd imagine a hem that won't get in the stomper's way is important, but beyond that? Good grape, the sky -- or fruit-filled barrel -- is the libation-lovely limit.

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