Stompin’ Grapes

With the mention of “grape stomp,” one particular image comes to mind for most people — the hilarity of Lucille Ball prancing around a giant tub of grapes in an episode of her 1950s sitcom “I Love Lucy.”

Don your best “Lucy” garb and take the chance to recreate the experience this weekend at Stetson Winery’s 7th annual Grape Stomp. Sloshing around barefoot in a barrel of grapes is an experience that can only lead to many laughs and great memories.

The winery owners, Don and Jo Stetson, host the annual event in celebration of their August grape harvest, which took place earlier this month.

“We have to wait until the grapes have reached a certain level of sweetness and we have a little machine that we measure the juice from some of the grapes to see where they are at,” Jo Stetson said. “When the grapes reach that level for the particular type of grape, that’s when you pick them.”

After the grapes are harvested, they send them to a winemaker in Verde Valley to finish the process.

“They’re one of the best winemakers in the state,” Stetson said. “We go down and taste the wines and when it meets with our approval they bottle it and we label it and put it in our storage.”

They reserve part of their harvest to allow guests the chance to stomp and enjoy an old tradition of winemaking, but Stetson does not actually use any of the juice from the grape stomp.

The stomp will be held from noon-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 21-22 at the winery located at 10965 Moonscape Way in the Valle Vista district of Kingman, Arizona.

There is no entrance fee or charge to participate in the stomp. They will be selling white T-shirts in the winery, which stompers can step on to save as a keepsake.

“What we do is when you stomp the grapes, we stomp red grapes and grape juice stains, so when you step out of the barrel after you stomp the grapes you step out on the back of the T-shirt and personalize it with your own footprints,” Stetson said.

Any age can participate and costumes are encouraged, so don’t be afraid get into the spirit of the event.

“One group of ladies had on skirts and blouses and kerchiefs on their head like Lucy and they just had a blast,” Stetson said. “So we’d like to encourage people to do that if they want to.”

There will be live music from local bands both days. Gold Rush will be performing Saturday and The Aces will perform Sunday. Hooch’s Kingman Grille will be onsite both days as well with their food truck.

Along with Stetson wine for sale, there will be a couple of vendors inside the winery over the weekend.

“We have one vendor who does wonderful chocolates that are really good with some of our wines and she can tell you which ones it pairs best with,” Stetson said. “We also have someone who is doing body creams and they’re very nice, all natural and reasonably priced.”

Stetson recently released a new petit verdot wine and has a new blend coming up in about a month. They currently have eight wines in store to taste, which just keep getting better every year.

“As the vines get older, and ours are pushing 10 years old now, they produce grapes that make better wine so our wines are improving yearly,” Stetson said. “We have a couple on the sweeter side, but none of our wines are really too sweet. But they are good and getting better!”

For the first time, there will be a Corvette parade as part of the grape stomp celebration. With help from the county, Brooks Boulevard, the road leading to the winery, was paved last month, making it easier to access in any vehicle.

“The parade’s going to start at 11 a.m. on the 21st and it will go down to the winery,” Stetson said. “The county people worked very well with us in getting the road hardsurfaced and we’re going to do a little ceremony recognizing and thanking them directly following the parade.”

The parade will be on Saturday only, and around 30 Corvettes from the Colorado River Corvette Club are expected to participate.

There are two more wineries just down the road from Stetson — Cella Winery and Little Old Wine Drinkers Winery. This year, there will be a free shuttle between all three wineries so guests can enjoy the different blends at each property.

Cella Winery, located at 6927 E. Brooks Boulevard, will be open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. both days. Local musician Richard James will be playing live both days and there will be prize raffles. For every bottle of wine purchased, patrons will receive a raffle ticket to win wine and gift shop items.

Little Old Wine Drinkers Winery also will be open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. over the weekend. They are located at 10919 Sharon Drive. Las Vegas singer Russine Zelner will be performing both days and Big Belly Nelly’s will be onsite selling pizza and sandwiches. Campers are welcome to stay overnight; call 702-835-3628 for availability.

“Come and support local wineries,” Little Old Wine Drinkers owner Steven Pedroza said. “All three wineries are a different experience, so come try them all.”