Published on October 1st, 2011 | by Greg0
Castle Harvest: Grape Stomp!
One of the most beautiful wineries in the Napa region is Castello di Amorosa. It is a wine castle- stones imported from Italy and built in medieval style, complete with detailed, hand-painted frescoes in the banquet halls. Owned and run by the same folks behind V. Sattui, we visited last weekend for a fun event. Everyone should try stomping grapes at least once- it’s a unique, messy experience, and even if you’re not going to drink the wine afterwards it’s still a lot of fun.
The event itself celebrated the harvest season and there were all of the usual additions to a fun night out: live music and a dance floor, and plenty of good food and wine. There were also a few unique additions that added to the night: a cooperage was on hand, showing how barrels were made, as was a firm that produces corks. Attendees also got to try unreleased wines at a barrel tasting. At our favorite random education station we got to try some unfermented zinfandel grape juice, fresh from the picking. The man who poured it knew a lot about yeast who helped manage the obscure-but-essential process that turns the sweet juice into wine. There were also a pair of folks in grape costumes, who did a great job of providing silly photo opportunities.
The best part of the evening was definitely the team stomp competition. We joined a few other random people to compete against some teams who were serious about their stomping. Each team had 10 people, only two of whom were actually “stompers”- the remainder were tasked with de-stemming grapes, shuttling them, collecting the stomped juice, and pouring it. Given a goal of six clean bottles, teams raced against one another in furious and messy fun- we brought a change of clothes and needed it, and woke up the next morning with some grape juice still in our hair.
This year’s festival is over, but Castello di Amorosa offers plenty of other events, and what is perhaps the most unique Napa experience and tasting room. Their wines are also excellent- try the Il Brigante, a classic red blend, and the Il Raggio del Sole, a floral Muscat. Next time you’re looking for a winery to visit, definitely check out the castle!