One minute: that was all the time contestants had to stomp as much as they could and get every last bit of juice from the grapes into the bottle placed underneath each bucket.
The 14 eager contestants took to the stage to compete in Callaway Winery’s annual grape stomp competition, Sip, Stomp and Play, Saturday evening, Oct. 5.
“No ‘whining’ if you don’t win!” Richard Seymour, DJ and judge of the evening’s grape stomping competition, said.
The competition’s first stomp started at 6:30 p.m., and a new round started every 10 minutes until 8:30 p.m.
Each contestant had a helper to hold the bottle and collect as much as possible, and workers set up funnels underneath each half-cut barrel contestants stood in.
The first round of winners, Cameron and Coco Brown, arrived on the annual Grape Stomp Tour 2019 bus from Little Bus Tours with their families, after two other wineries earlier that day and ending their evening at Callaway Winery.
“We came up to celebrate,” Bonnie and Gaylord Brown said of their recently merged families.
“Our kids got married a year ago in November, and every month we do something as a family, all six of us. The son (Cameron) and the daughter-in-law (Coco), her parents and his parents, the six of us do something fun every month,” Bonnie Brown said. “This month we decided to do grape stomping. We’ll finish the night eating dinner here.”
Dinner, which included Omaha beef brisket and a chicken breast as the main course, came with several sides as guests sat around under the lights and listened to live music which included popular cover songs from bands past.
For Samary Ortiz, it was her first time participating in the grape stomp.
“It was absolutely amazing,” she said after her round of stomping had finished, her feet still in the bucket.
Along with watching contestants, the night offered a photo booth, Italian ice and of course, wine. Guests could dress up and compete in outfits as Lucille Ball from the 50s television show, “I Love Lucy,” replicating an episode that showed Ball stomping on grapes.
For Eddy and Alicia Lugo, traveling from their home in Fontana to Temecula is worth the drive.
“The wine is really good, and not only that, every time we come here we feel like we can rest,” Eddy Lugo said, laughing. “In fact two months ago we came here, we were so tired; we had some wine and ended up falling asleep.”
They have been members at Callaway for two years.
“We enjoy it (the grape stomp) so much; we didn’t expect this many people to be here,” he said. “The people here are kind, and it makes you feel at ease.”
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.