Ahhh . . . the potent aroma of blackberries, raspberries, and tannins—with just a hint of dirty feet.
Yes, it’s time to don some old clothes and scrub those tootsies for a smashing good time at Ponte Winery’s 4th Annual Grape Stomping Festival.
Who doesn’t recall that hilarious I Love Lucy grape stomping episode in which our wacky redhead ends up brawling in a barrel with her fellow female stomper? (If you don’t remember, just Google it and you’ll find the infamous scene depicted on puzzles, Christmas ornaments—even pajamas!)
At Ponte’s most popular event, vino-loving teams of two compete for a cases of Ponte Family Estate wine; while one team member rolls up their pant legs, jumps into a half-barrel and does the jitterbug jive, smashing and squishing grapes under their heels and between their toes, the other team member tries to fill a wine bottle with the flowing juices. If that doesn’t necessarily make your mouth water, don’t worry winos, there are also plenty of “feet-free” Ponte vintages available for consumption.
For the daring—after the competition, rinse off your pods and sip the fruit of your labor; participants are treated to a hosted Ponte wine bar, non-alcoholic beverages and a Heart-of-the-Harvest Buffet, featuring wine country fare such as antipasto bites on rosemary skewers, prosciutto-stuffed chicken breast, sun-dried tomato mashed potatoes, marinated olives with herbs and gorgonzola, double-chocolate brownies and strawberry shortcake. Just make sure you aren’t too stuffed to enjoy the entertainment and dancing under an autumnal night sky of twinkling stars. (Anna Hirsh)
PONTE FAMILY ESTATE WINERY, 35053 RANCHO CALIFORNIA RD., TEMECULA, (951) 694-8855; WWW.PONTEWINERY.COM. SAT., 5-9 P.M. $90; WINE CLUB MEMBERS, $81; CHILDREN 13 AND UNDER, $30; WINE CLUB MEMBER CHILDREN, $27. SIGN UP EARLY!