Going Old School with Mark Schabel

When I tell people that I’m a winemaker I am often asked, “Do you stomp the grapes like Lucille Ball with your feet?”  I inevitably respond with, “No, we have machines for that,” and self-deprecatingly add: “have you seen my feet?

Funny thing is, I do occasionally take up the old art of stomping grapes with my feet.

Yes, that is me in the photograph above, wearing sanitized boots, stomping down recently picked arneis grapes (more accurately, arneis grape skins) with a layer of plastic between the boots and grapes.  Why?   Grape skins play a role in making good wine.  In a process called co-extraction, crushed or stomped grape skins are used to provide better color stability and mouth feel to red wines like Sangiovese.  Yes, even green grape skins add to the quality of red wine.


Grape skins give color and tannin to wine

So I guess you could say I am channeling my inner Lucy as winemaker here at Ponte.  In this age of modern machines and winemaking equipment, you’ll still find us co-extracting and stomping grapes the old school way once in a while.  We still use the modern stuff, too.   Why am I doing the stomping, you ask?   Truth is, I need the exercise, and I just couldn’t bring myself to ask our intern, Ernie Brewer, to perform another menial task.

You can join us in the fun on Sunday, September 28th at our annual Grape Stomping Festival. All guests will have the opportunity to crush real Ponte grapes with their feet in a competition to win awesome prizes.  Dinner, entertainment and wine is included at this popular, sell-out event.  Kids are welcome!  Get your tickets here and don’t forget to book your room or suite at Ponte Vineyard Inn for the night.

No, we’re not going to use the crushed grapes from the event to make wine, but it’ll be a great time!

–Mark Schabel


Posted by , August 8, 2014 No comments

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