Grape stomping has become the thing to do for everyone not in possession of their own vineyard. This centuries-old method of maceration begins the long, complicated journey that takes the grape from vine to wine bottle—and it is exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of grapes, a couple feet, and one stomper standing in a barrel.
With the recent recognition of the soils, climate, and farming practices—the terroir—of the Peninsula being recognized as an American Viticultural Area, maceration has been elevated to a new-found artform. For winemakers, it’s evidence of their hard work paying off. For wine-drinkers, it’s an opportunity to do some of the hard work themselves.
Throughout the fall, wine destinations around NoVA let you get down with some grapes I Love Lucy-style. Here are some recommendations that should meet anyone’s need to explore a thing to do, whether you just want to stick a toe in the barrel, or dive in head first.
September 17 throughout the fall, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Pearmund Cellars holds Crush Monkey Fridays weekly. Guests work side-by-side with winemakers to press, punch down, clean, blend and generally do whatever is needed to make the wine that day. Adults will gain an invaluable education and have a memorable experience, but will be put to work. The fee includes a t-shirt, lunch and, of course, some of the wine you made. 6190 Georgetown Rd., Broad Run; $100
September 25 & 26, noon-6 p.m.
Celebrate harvest season at Bluemont Vineyards. This family-friendly day starts with instruction before it breaks into the actual stomping. After you finish, you can step onto a tea towel to commemorate your adventure. 18755 Foggy Bottom Rd., Bluemont; $35
October 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
If you prefer to use your feet in an adult-friendly guided tour of the fermentation process, Hillsborough Winery is the place for you. Head winemaker, Karem, leads a guided tour through the cellars, where you will learn what happens to white wine as it sleeps in barrels. Following the tour, you can participate in a Q&A, and taste some of Hillsborough’s award-winning whites. 36716 Charles Town Pike, Hillsboro; $35
October 9, noon-7 p.m.
At Veramar Vineyard’s annual event there’s music from The Cruisers, Willie White Band and The Indigo Experience, and tons of grapes in buckets. Kids under 12 are free, and all ages can join in on the fun. Those over 21 can stomp and drink. 905 Quarry Rd., Berryville; $18
October 16, noon
Star in the Valley Winery lets you and your family stomp all day as you celebrate the wine harvest, listen to live music by Will Harkin and Maddie Peters, and eat food by Let There Be Crepes. 33 Amos Ln., Strasburg
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