So this past weekend I got to do something pretty cool. I got to go stomp some grapes at Benmarl Winery. My friend, we shall call her Gertie for anonymity, asked if I wanted to go. Who wouldn't want to go stomp some grapes if given the opportunity? Such a silly question! (You may recall Gertie being mentioned before, Friends, like in this post where she opted not play in the abandoned building and look for graffiti with me because she's responsible and stuff. She's my BFF although we tend to be polar opposites a lot of the time.)
What do you think of when you hear the phrase "grape stomping"? I know my brain went directly to this:
Admit it -- it looks pretty awesome
I was ready to link arms and dance around in the big vat of grapes with Gertie. Sadly, my dreams were crushed (ha!) when it turned out to be two smaller vats side by side. It has been pointed out to me -- several times now -- that this is probably to keep fools like myself from trying to recreate the above scene. Probably true. It was still cool.
The views from Benmarl are gorgeous!
Hello, Hudson Valley!
It also has some cool decor
We started out by tasting a few wines. Every time we go to a wine tasting some variation of this discussion occurs:
Gertie: I'm going to try the white wines. I love them!
Me: I'm going for red.
Gertie: I hate red wine.
Me: It's my fave. You're a freak.
After a few tastings, we went on a tour of the winery. It was really very interesting to see the behind-the-scenes process.
Grapes waiting to be separated and crushed.
While we were in the room with the bottling machine we also got to hear about the process of how they make the wines. We even got to see them preparing the yest mixture for the fermentation process. You could hear the yeast working, and it kind of sounded like Rice Krispies in milk.
Then we got to go to the wine cellar and hear more about the history of Benmarl.
Barrels hard at work...well, rest.
I had no idea prior to going that it is the oldest vineyard in America. Since we were a small tour group, we got to go and see the old wine cellar as well.
The guide said they aren't drinkable - probably mostly vinegar at this point.
Gertie was not nearly as thrilled as I was to be playing in the old wine cellar.
Gertie: Ugh. It's all musty in here.
Me: I know. Isn't it awesome?
Gertie: No, not really.
Me: I love it. It feels like there should be a secret tunnel, or catacombs or something hidden behind the shelves.
Gertie: You are so weird.
Bottles in the old wine cellar
Decor between the old cellar and the one they actually use
As we were finishing the tour and exiting back outside, we got to see the machines in action.
Gotta keep 'em separated
We went back to taste a couple more wines, and then we decided it was time to go stomp some grapes. We watched a couple of people go, and then two tweenage girls went right before us. The one was kind of uncertain about sticking her feet in there, and the other loudly exclaimed that it felt like walking on eyeballs.
Gertie: Eyeballs? Oh, God.
Me: What, you don't want to stomp on eyeballs? It'll be great!
Gertie: You are so weird.
And then it was our turn, and we got to stomp some grapes!
Why yes, those are my feet covered in grapes.
Honestly, it wasn't like squishing eyeballs....not that I ever have squished eyeballs, but you know what I mean. It was kind of like a mushy, juicy, foot massage.
And then a guy who was there taking pictures asked Gertie if he could shoot some video of her feet while she was stomping the grapes. She said yes, of course. She was dressed all cute in a skirt, with her pink pedicure. I had on jeans and my toenails are polished black. Not that you could tell under the grapes or anything, but there was a slight difference in style between the two of us. Maybe this will spark a new career for Gertie as a foot model! Ya never know. I'm kind of curious to see if they ever post the video. I was babbling away in the background about how much younger our feet were going to look after being submerged in all the antioxidants. I'm guessing they will probably edit my blathering out if they do use the footage somewhere.
After getting our feet hosed off and trying to remove the purpleness of it all, we decided to have a proper glass of wine instead of just a tasting.
I think we all know which glass is mine at this point
It was a really enjoyable time. I can cross "stomp grapes" off the bucket list now. If you ever have a chance to do it, you absolutely should! There really is no good way to explain what it feels like.
I'm pretty sure my feet have now returned to normal color on the bottom. Not going to lie -- it took a couple days and some scrubbing to get all of the purple off. Still no reason not to do it though. How many people really look at the bottom of your feet on a daily basis anyways?