Lonnie Melvin Tillis “Stomp them Grapes” makes my heart swing with this memory.
“Naples”– an unforgettable experience,
When my business associate Valentina said that the next day we are going for grape stomping, I had a lot of expectations. Traditionally dressed Italian woman in a full festival mood like the Wine Festival in Artsakh. Valentina and Vincenzo made it as a cherished experience in my heart. Grape-stomping is a method used in traditional winemaking, Grapes were crushed by having barefoot participants repeatedly stomp on them to release their juices and begin fermentation, which now survives mostly as a recreational or competitive activity at cultural festivals.
From Naples, we almost drove 2 hours through the countryside on that hot sunny day. The dramatic landscape is something to admire and gawk over as you drive between towns. We arrived at the vineyard we were received by the howling breeze and Mohammed from Pakistan, the caretaker of the vineyard.
Towards the end of the grape harvest season, there were still a few grapes on the vines. Because of the breeze, we decided to start our day with grape stomping.
By that time Mohammed had dumped a few bucketloads of grapes into a larger vat. We washed our feet and legs, then stepped into vats of grapes. The feel of grapes underneath is tickling and amazing. Crushing the grapes requires taking high steps pressing the grapes down with your foot and gently crush them slow and steadily.
It was an out of the world experience while sitting down to write this I can still feel the coldness and texture of the grape juice.
I was thrilled when I learned that there is more. The wine tasting paired with local meats and cheeses were on my plate. It was not just drinking wine over a conversation. It was a guided tasting session. I was surprised when I was given a spit bucket. The reason to spit is that you can’t taste wine when you are drunk. It was great learning.
When the wine is poured into the glass, you evaluate the appearance and the color. Holding the bottom of the stem of the glass and swirl it firmly—which will release the aroma of the wine. After that, you have to smell it deeply and take a medium size sip of wine and swish it around, and as it coats your tongue, you will understand the taste of the wine. Now instead of swallowing you need to spit it on the little bucket given.
Frankly, I enjoyed learning the technique than tasting. When my colleagues were getting into the mood of swallowing and cherishing the taste, I preferred to go down to the wine yard.
I along with Mohammed rode a tractor ride amidst the stunningly beautiful vineyard and olive trees. I had to hold on to my hat because of the heavy breeze. Mohammed was very happy because he was yearning to speak to someone in Hindi. He was telling me about the different varieties of grapes. We stopped in between and got some grapes for me to eat . A 45 minutes ride and he was more interested to take me to show me more but there wasn’t enough time.