At Beliveau Estate Winery, people are making wine with their feet. “It feels great,” said Margaret King, a student at Virginia Tech. “It’s awesome to be able to do this and I knew about it from the ‘I Love Lucy’ episode!”
Stomping grapes is the perfect way for King to spend her birthday. “It’s very mushy,” she said. “It feels kind of weird, you never know if you’re going to step on a grape or a stem!”
According to Yvan Beliveau, the owner of Beliveau Estates, grape stomping has been around for over 10,000 years. Before machines came along, it was the way wine was made. “They stomp them and that really separates the seeds, the pulp, the skins,and the twigs,” said Beliveau. “And so, we will take this and actually put them all into a batch. We will pull out the twigs with our hands and then we will ferment them.”
After seven days of fermenting, the grape juice becomes wine. “And from there on,” said Beliveau. “We do a lot of fining and lots of other things to the wine. And then we work in the spring, we start thinking about the blending of the different varieties that we have and how they’re going to mix”
Beliveau will bottle this batch in late 2017.