I love wine, I love wineries, I love the history and culture associated with grapes and vineyards. I’ve wanted to stomp on grapes a la I Love Lucy since I watched a rerun more than 20 years ago (before I even knew what wine was I’m sure).
So, two weekends ago, Aaron and I volunteered our Sunday morning to help the nice people at Casa Rondena pick their grapes in exchange for free wine.
We got to the winery nice and early and we were handed a bucket and a knife with a quick reminder that the grapes we picked would actually go into bottles of wine. In other words, if we picked the wrong grapes, we’d be drinking bad wine next year. No pressure.
We picked and we picked and we gathered and we gathered. I sliced my finger a few times (think of that the next time you drink up), and then we poured the grapes into large bins (rather, Aaron poured the grapes into large bins).
The grapes are poured into a big machine where they are squished and pressed, releasing all the juices (and hopefully straining out all the ants and spiders that were ALL OVER). The liquid is pumped into large metal barrels where they ferment into the wine we know and love.
No grape harvest would be complete without the traditional wine stomp. This is kind of the whole reason I volunteered to pick grapes all morning. Before you start grossing out over drinking my toe juice, you should know that this is completely ceremonial, and this juice doesn’t get put into any wine (at least that is what they told us…). Also, men’s feet aren’t allowed. I don’t know if it is because men’s feet tend to be dirtier or if men are less pure and squish less desireable wine, but for whatever reason, Aaron was not allowed into the bit vat of grapes (though he definitely tried).
Getting intimately aquianted with the wine process from vine to glass was extraordinary. Knowing what goes into each bottle makes it taste a little sweeter if you are able to forget about sliced fingers, ants, spiders, and dirt. I helped create a wine experience for someone else in the future which is both a little terrifying and completely satisfying. And I’m pretty sure I need to open a winery now!