CULVER, OR -- Central Oregonians are invited to get their feet dirty at the 7th annual Grape Stomp at Maragas Winery on Saturday. Doug Maragas tells KBND News the event grows every year. "I love to see the expression on people’s faces when we tell them the dessert wine they’re tasting was stomped by the bare feet of Central Oregonians. Their mouths sometimes drop that that in fact was made with grapes that every Tom, Dick or Harry had their feet into."
He expects 600-800 people will visit the 40-acre farm and vineyard for the family-friendly, one-day event. "The idea is, you get in with the grapes, you’re bare-footed and you move your legs so that you squish the grapes into juice. And, that’s the stomping and the crushing of the grapes. And, a lot of people will be surprised at the texture and the feeling on their tootsies when they do this. And, also, how exhausting it is to continue to pump your legs for minutes at a time."
While most wine is now made using mechanical means, Maragas says this is the one time each year they get to utilize the process used for generations. "It took a while to convince the Department of Agriculture that it was sanitary to do it. But, in the old days that’s how all wine was made. Even though you do step into a bath of sanitizing solution before you get into the vat, it really is the fermentation process that kills everything." And, he says those planning to help stomp the two-tons of grapes should be prepared to get dirty by wearing something that can get stained.
Festivities begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, at Maragas Winery, north of Terrebonne. Tickets are required
and are available at the door.