Harvest Season----- Stomping Grapes like Lucy


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North America » United States » California » Yountville
October 6th 2013
Published: October 12th 2013
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Fall has arrived in wine country and the soft summer rays filter through the trees and into the valleys……..harvest season (or crush) has arrived again. The weather in the Napa/Sonoma region is almost perfect this time of year with warm sunny afternoons and crisp evenings as well. The grapes agree and yearn to be picked…..and then crushed to make their way into bottles….and then into our hands.

As we drove down the long and elegant drive way leading to the wine cellars we noticed the vines were turning goldenrod and glowing in the sunshine. Balloons were at the end of the driveway providing a warm welcome. As we approach the registration desk they confirmed our reservation, gave us name tags and our wine glass. Glass in hand, we had the appropriate tool for the day and were ready to go.

Some say Lucille Ball was one of the great female comedians of all time. Whether you liked her comedy or not you probably remember the episode where she stomped grapes. You can go on YouTube and revisit this timeless episode which ends in typical Lucy fashion. Since that time Merry Jo has wanted to give it a try. That
1st place winner!1st place winner!1st place winner!

We stomped our hearts out.
day had finally arrived.

A few decades ago, the best time to visit a winery might have been the fall so you could attend vineyard activities around the harvest. These days vineyards have activities year around so one season is not really any better than the others in our opinion. Those crafty marketing people have seen to that. Each season is unique.

At wineries there are no shortages of wine tastings, food pairings, special wine dinners, BBQ’s, olive oil tastings, concerts, antique car shows and gift shops. Some vineyards have art on display. At others you can tour the wine caves. There are limos to rent, bachelorette parties, weddings and other celebrations, each of which bring the customer to the grapes and all the trappings within.



But since it is fall and MJ wanted to try grape stomping…..and let’s face it, there was no stopping her…..

Few wineries continue to offer the grape stomping for legal reasons. Many are worried someone will slip in the grapes and fall and hurt themselves. This is where the lawyers usually get involved, but we were able to get a reservation for the Harvest Stomp Party at the
The Vine DawgzThe Vine DawgzThe Vine Dawgz

provided great music
Bell Wine Cellars. The experience was everything that a grape stomper could want.

Bell Wine Cellars is a “boutique” winery, producing about 15,000 cases a year. These smaller wineries focus on a limited production of high quality wines. Our hopes were that a smaller winery would offer a more intimate gathering. We were extremely happy with our choice. The owners Anthony and Sandra Bell produce fine wines and throw a great party. They meandered table to table talking with each of the guest about the history of their wines and winery. One of the more refreshing aspects of our visit was that the tasting room was simple and straight forward. More to our tastes, barrels surrounded where one could sample the vintage, which was served on a simple finished board on top of a couple of barrels, in a nod to simpler times.

With our name tags affixed and wine glass in hand, we headed to the front lawn where tents, tables and of course, wine tasting was available. The Vine Dawgz, a local band, who affectionately refer to themselves as delicately aged classic rockers kept the beat going all afternoon. The chef had firm control of the
Tasting roomTasting roomTasting room

lovely and one of our favorites
grill where he was grilling beef tenderloin and yellowtail tuna. The food was sublime, the wine was fine, the bocce ball intense, but we had come for the stomping of the grapes and were not to be denied.

After a few hours of tasting and noshing, the time had come to gather for event rules and instructions. The 16 teams were announced. Each four-person team was promptly sent into the vineyard to gather about 30 pounds of grapes. Once secured, they were hauled to the patio area and placed in knee high wine barrels. Each team was allotted two minutes for stomping, twisting and grinding of the grapes. Each member of the team had their 30 seconds of fame gyrating with the grapes.

Then the hilarity began. Normal mild-mannered folk became grape stomping fools. For safety reasons the barrels were along the stone wall so participants could hold on during the frenzy. Other team members were spotters to prevent gravity from doing its thing, but in reality, they were cheering each other on. The barrels were strained and drained, the magic liquid measured and the results tallied.

And now for some background on MJ’s team. Anyone who
Bell Wine CellarsBell Wine CellarsBell Wine Cellars

would you like a sample
has encountered her in a competition knows that she has, shall we say, a competitive streak in her. Well, as luck would have it, she was paired with like minds. The three young ladies had victory on their minds and schemed to best strategize the victory. Their intensity paid off handsomely as they claimed 1st place. Each of them received a magnum of 2008 Syrah. Score!



Lucille Ball, if you’re looking down, know that your influence has translated into an afternoon of high comedy


Additional photos below
Photos: 34, Displayed: 25


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Dave is looking sharpDave is looking sharp
Dave is looking sharp

bring on the wine tasting
Anthony Bell, Dave & Merry JoAnthony Bell, Dave & Merry Jo
Anthony Bell, Dave & Merry Jo

Owner of Bell Wine Cellars
Step up and sample a few winesStep up and sample a few wines
Step up and sample a few wines

a small, intimate tasting room
MJ working hardMJ working hard
MJ working hard

selecting the plump grapes
Carrying our bountyCarrying our bounty
Carrying our bounty

we collected these grapes for our stomping
MJ ready to stompMJ ready to stomp
MJ ready to stomp

eager & willing with pants rolled up


12th October 2013

Same Same but Different
Hey.... great post guys.... We do similar here in Western Australia.... most of the wineries in the Margaret River and Great Southern regions are boutique as well. I find it offers so much more with less people or tours and like yourselves, provides the opportunity to accost the owners or head winemakers to better understand their business and produce. Sounds like a great day was had.
12th October 2013

Mark thanks for your comments
We had such a great time. Hopefully, when we get back to Australia we can attend a similar event. The owners of Bell Wine Cellars have been in the business in California for decades. They have family in South Africa in the same business.
12th October 2013

What a Way to Spend a Day!
Now this is the way to spend time at a winery. We have almost given up the over the top tasting rooms - with prices to match. A happy and relaxed party with a bit of stomping is a much more attractive proposition. Looks like the life is agreeing with you both. Continue to play.
12th October 2013

Dave & Pat
So glad you are still reading along! Yes, this was amazing and very reasonably priced. Many vineyards were asking high prices for these parties and this one was very reasonable. The food was gourmet, the fine wines pleased the palate and we met some very nice people. Wish you were here.
12th October 2013

Of course, we remember the Lucy episode...
and wish that you posted a video of MJ...but a picture will do! We love Napa Valley, but never having lived in the area, we never had the opportunities you really experience all it has to offer. This experience really shows what we are missing! Thanks for sharing your good times.
12th October 2013

We are of that age group....
A true classic! Bob, since you have interest I will email you the video. It was hysterical. We are taking advantage of living in the land of the grapes.
12th October 2013

We are of that age group....
A true classic! Bob, since you have interest I will email you the video. It was hysterical. We are taking advantage of living in the land of the grapes.
12th October 2013

MJ ready to stomp (...) Stomped grapes!
Where are the grape stomping/drinking shots?
12th October 2013

No drinking shots
I'm more of a sedate sipping and tasting gal these days rather than drinking. I appreciate the wines....and always need to remember the drive home on the twist and turns that those narrow Napa roads have to offer.
12th October 2013

Stomping
My goodness, you guys sure find the fun and different things to do. We'll be in Cortona next grape harvest season and maybe we can find something like this. Did they really use the juice you stomped for their next offering of wine?
12th October 2013

I don't know but suspect they did
Sonja please try this in Cortona. It was a blast. I suspect they used our grapes because they threw all of them into a large vat at the end. They warned us not to participate if we had any foot problems. I'm certain if they did use our grapes they filtered the heck out of them. No worries.
12th October 2013

Stomping
My goodness, you guys sure find the fun and different things to do. We'll be in Cortona next grape harvest season and maybe we can find something like this. Did they really use the juice you stomped for their next offering of wine?
12th October 2013

Perfect day!
Wow! Wine, gourmet treats, good music and getting a magnum for fulfilling a dream--what could be better? It's great that those marketers have found ways to lure people in year round because wine country is so gorgeous--rolling hills, a few oaks, vineyards and generally large, attractive old structures. You two know how to live the good life!
12th October 2013

A perfect day with dreams fulfilled.
I really enjoy Napa and Sonoma in the winter when the vines look stark. It is a raw beauty and the vineyards are not as crowded. You can get discounts on hotels in January and February. It is very nice. The Vine Dawgz were surprisingly good. Many people were dancing.
13th October 2013

OMG funny. I just wrote a blog about the Okanagan, and was about to post it when I saw your lovely blog. Good job on the stomping. I'll have to hire you to come and work my vineyard MJ!
13th October 2013

Sounds like a perfect job for me
I've got plenty of experience now and have awards to back it up. Please put me on the list!
13th October 2013
Rich colors & ripe grapes

Autumn!
Ahh, the beauty of fall's colors. :)
13th October 2013
Rich colors & ripe grapes

Vibrant colors
Fall is indeed exciting as the colors change from vibrant to muted. Wish you were here.
13th October 2013

great photoes
Enjoyed seeing blog. I remember seeing Lucy stamping the Grapes on her tv show. Yes I would like a sample a glass of white Zinfandel Please. I really enjoy seeing your trips. Thank you Love Mildred
13th October 2013

Thanks for your note!
We miss you and wish you were here with us so we could have that glass of Zin. Glad you are following along.
14th October 2013

one comment
OHHH LUCY!
14th October 2013

You make me laugh
I have new skills!
15th November 2013
Fall is decorative

Harvest Season----- Stomping Grapes like Lucy
Great photos and blog. I do remember Lucille Ball show. This is something I would like to do - perhaps next year when I intend see more of the States.
15th November 2013
Fall is decorative

Glad you enjoyed it
I hope we will see you when you are in the U.S. keep us posted.

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