After watching I Love Lucy as a child, I have dreamed of attending a good old fashion grape stomp, after laughing at her escapades and purple feet.This year my curiosity finally got the best of me and I made the trip up to California wine country to feel the grapes under my feet.
Grapes are rarely juiced by hand, or rather feet, these days, but the tradition of the stomp is still celebrated during harvest season. Cass Winery, located in Paso Robles, was kind enough to let me participate in their grape stomp celebration and even though the weather did not hold up, the good spirits, good food, and great wine did.
The favorite story of the day was about the owner, Steve Cass himself. He had cut the heads off all his Merlot vines this year and was asked continually what the story was behind such drastic actions. Here was the story: Steve’s Merlot vines were just not producing at the level he needed them too, and after several years of giving them the opportunity to reach their potential and the Merlot falling short each year, Steve laid down the law this year. He marched out to the vines and told them that if they did not start producing to their potential he was going to cut their heads off, no more warnings or second chances, either they stepped up or they were through. Well sadly, the Merlot forced Steve to follow through with his threat, and as the Red Queen says: Off with their heads!