Have you ever dreamt of crushing grapes with your bare feet? Do you wonder what it feels like?
The thought of walking on newly harvested grapes bring notions of romance and tradition.
Nearly every year we have visitors at our vineyard who come to help us with the harvest. Some of them believe and hope that we foot-stomp the grapes. One is Tove.
It is still done. Some places like in Portugal in the production of Port Wine. Others do it as a part of festival and for the attraction of tourists, like in the US.
Most wine producers use machines. So, do we. The grape skin needs to be crushed to release the juice, as well at the tannins, the color, and the aromas in the skins.
In a good year, we have thousands of liters of grape juice. It would need a lot of hours and labor if we were to only use feet.
As a winemaker, I still wanted to try. On our property, we have a small parcel of muscat grapes. They make about 50 liters of wine. It was my son, who then was pre-school, and myself. We entered a bucket with grapes, and stomped. But we soon got tired. I thought that was the end of project grape stomping
The year after, we had our 70-year old friend Tove visiting. It was her first harvest. While we were collecting the grapes, she told me about her dream that she had carried since youth. She wanted to try grape stomping. If there is one thing I believe life is about, it is to fulfil our dreams.
It was a warm day in the beginning of October. I found a plastic fermentation barrel with enough room for two ladies. We poured in newly harvested muscat grapes. Not too many, but a layer up until our ankles.
It was a unique experience.
The feeling from the naked feet in the sticky juice with soft grapes. Cooling and soothing. The smell of muscat releasing, as the grapes are crushed, and the sensation of the feet becoming soft as the foot of a child.
It became wine. The best of all, we had fun. Here you may see the film of Tove and I making wine with our feet. Are you tempted?