Foot stomping grapes

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

SLM

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2020
Messages
194
Reaction score
309
I walked by a winery in downtown Seattle yesterday and saw people in bins stomping grapes. I've lived here 10 years, been to dozens of wineries. I did not know this was still a thing!
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
1,586
Reaction score
1,852
Location
Badacsony wine region. Hungary
I did not know this was still a thing!

It is not "still" a thing. It is only recently become a "trendy" thing.

Modern crushers are probably better at crushing grapes (faster and do not damage seeds). But there will be always some that think using their feet somehow makes the wine better and makes it more marketable and maybe worth more. Not sure about the former, but the later may be true. P.T. Barnum is often associated with the comment: "there is a sucker born every minute" --- and there is a huge industry to profit from that idea. Even P.T. Barnum did, even if he did not actually originate the comment.... :cool:
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
7,057
Reaction score
18,075
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
This is a great marketing idea. Advertise a grape stomping, entrance is $10 and includes a glass of wine. Have more wine + food for sale.

Raffle tickets to actually stomp grapes (setup so there are many opportunities to "win"). A year later sell "Grape Stomp Wine" at premium price. Give the stompers a free bottle.
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
1,586
Reaction score
1,852
Location
Badacsony wine region. Hungary
This is a great marketing idea. Advertise a grape stomping, entrance is $10 and includes a glass of wine. Have more wine + food for sale.

Raffle tickets to actually stomp grapes (setup so there are many opportunities to "win"). A year later sell "Grape Stomp Wine" at premium price. Give the stompers a free bottle.
Yes. But you forgot one thing:

Put it all on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok..... That is today, apparently, where the real money (and sucker?) is. Not making real things, like quality wine, just making "content", whatever that may be..... :cool:
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
7,057
Reaction score
18,075
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
Yes. But you forgot one thing:

Put it all on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok..... That is today, apparently, where the real money (and sucker?) is. Not making real things, like quality wine, just making "content", whatever that may be..... :cool:
Nope -- I didn't forget. I merely pointed out one marketing tactic that produces direct sales. Your point is a second marketing tactic -- post videos of the live event to bring in more. :)
 
Last edited:

SLM

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2020
Messages
194
Reaction score
309
Well if it's all for marketing they're doing a poor job. They don't mention it on their website and they're not doing it in a public area. If I hadn't been walking past their back door I never would have known.
 

bjoll001

Junior
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
20
Reaction score
23
It is not "still" a thing. It is only recently become a "trendy" thing.

Modern crushers are probably better at crushing grapes (faster and do not damage seeds). But there will be always some that think using their feet somehow makes the wine better and makes it more marketable and maybe worth more. Not sure about the former, but the later may be true. P.T. Barnum is often associated with the comment: "there is a sucker born every minute" --- and there is a huge industry to profit from that idea. Even P.T. Barnum did, even if he did not actually originate the comment.... :cool:
I would respectfully disagree as it depends on the style of wine you are trying to make. Some of the best, most complex wine I drink is from a wine maker in Santa Barbara County CA that foot stomps all his grapes, ferments with 100% stem inclusion in open top fermenters with daily punch downs since he has made wine for over a decade. He ages on the fine lee's in neutral oak for 3 years and ages the wine typically 7 years before release. The wine is exceptional due to the stem inclusion and what it contributes aromatically. Never over tannic as many will say due to stem inclusion no matter what variety is used. He says the variability of the stems is what makes the wine making a little more unpredictable but that is the fun of the journey to see how it ends up compared to other wine makers who want to make a consistent tasting wine year to year. Point is that foot stomping has it's place depending on your end goal stylistically. It is still done at many places in Europe that produce except wine also.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
7,057
Reaction score
18,075
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
@bjoll001, I can't visualize how stomping grapes will produce a significant difference from using a mechanical crusher, other than stomping may leave a larger percentage of uncrushed berries. Hmmm ... whole berries will ferment inside the skins, introducing different flavors and aromas. Ok, maybe I CAN visualize it making a difference.

This is an area for a in-depth study.

[I started this post from the POV that I can't see how stomping grapes make any difference in the result, but started thinking about it, and decided to leave my stream of consciousness in place as I finished.]
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
1,586
Reaction score
1,852
Location
Badacsony wine region. Hungary
I would respectfully disagree as it depends on the style of wine you are trying to make. Some of the best, most complex wine I drink is from a wine maker in Santa Barbara County CA that foot stomps all his grapes, ferments with 100% stem inclusion in open top fermenters with daily punch downs since he has made wine for over a decade. He ages on the fine lee's in neutral oak for 3 years and ages the wine typically 7 years before release. The wine is exceptional due to the stem inclusion and what it contributes aromatically. Never over tannic as many will say due to stem inclusion no matter what variety is used. He says the variability of the stems is what makes the wine making a little more unpredictable but that is the fun of the journey to see how it ends up compared to other wine makers who want to make a consistent tasting wine year to year. Point is that foot stomping has it's place depending on your end goal stylistically. It is still done at many places in Europe that produce except wine also.

Well, you may be right.

Or you may simply find his wine best because of cognitive bias.

But either is irrelevant. All that matters is you love the wine you choose to drink. For whatever reasons. :cool:
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
1,586
Reaction score
1,852
Location
Badacsony wine region. Hungary
It is still done at many places in Europe that produce except wine also.

I live in Europe as an American Expat. Am certainly no expert on "foot stomping" prevalence in Europe. But no one here where I live does it. I have only read about foot stomping still being done in small Spanish and Portugal wineries.

But I read about it a lot more recently from the USA. From New York to Oregon to Washington and of course California. I expect there is more foot stomped wines from the USA than from Europe today. So why I call it trendy, not really traditional. Much like the craze a few years back in the USA for concrete fermentation vessels being called "the new oak". Everything has its craze, then eventually reaches a plateau. And either stays there or dies off.
 

bjoll001

Junior
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
20
Reaction score
23
I live in Europe as an American Expat. Am certainly no expert on "foot stomping" prevalence in Europe. But no one here where I live does it. I have only read about foot stomping still being done in small Spanish and Portugal wineries.

But I read about it a lot more recently from the USA. From New York to Oregon to Washington and of course California. I expect there is more foot stomped wines from the USA than from Europe today. So why I call it trendy, not really traditional. Much like the craze a few years back in the USA for concrete fermentation vessels being called "the new oak". Everything has its craze, then eventually reaches a plateau. And either stays there or dies off.
It's usually smaller wineries that may employ this technique as the more wine you make, it becomes physically impossible to foot stomp high quantities.
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
1,586
Reaction score
1,852
Location
Badacsony wine region. Hungary
It's usually smaller wineries that may employ this technique as the more wine you make, it becomes physically impossible to foot stomp high quantities.

Yeah... I know that. Basic economics of scale.

That being said.... Where I live, on a wine hill, most every house has a vineyard. Most every house has a wine cellar. Still, nobody uses their feet to process their wine. Size alone is not the issue. Just saying.
 

bjoll001

Junior
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
20
Reaction score
23
Well, you may be right.

Or you may simply find his wine best because of cognitive bias.

But either is irrelevant. All that matters is you love the wine you choose to drink. For whatever reasons. :cool:
You may be right about cognitive bias, or the wine maker who does this does create a distinctive wine. I guess there is a lot of theory that can go into why the wine is different in this fashion. One reason may be many of the berries are not crushed during a foot stomp but will still ferment inside and give off different aromatics than the berries that were burst open. Maybe it's Hocus Pocus, but I do find it interesting that many of the fine wine makers that use crusher de stemmers talk about setting the crusher to barely nicking the grapes rather than crushing them because they feel that gives the wine an improved profile starting the ferment like this. This could be Hocus Pocus also, or we can ask ourselves does the amount of the crush matter and how much juice is created vs left in the grapes before starting fermentation and in the end does it matter or not?

Additionally the stem inclusion makes a big difference as the stems are not removed during the ferment after the foot stomp for this particular winemaker's technique I was discussing. Now some wine makers do throw stems back into their ferment after crushing and destemming in different amounts to change the profile of the wine so food stomping is not needed if you want stem inclusion.

In the end, yes, more wine makers doing the foot stomping technique could be a marketing technique. Or it could for many reasons make the wine different. I guess this would be a good case for a study to compare. It does seem like foot stomping is a lot of work though to do just for marketing as it is much more labor intensive than using a machine.

Ahhh man vs machine, a new discussion. I pose a different question for fun. Does hand harvesting grapes really make the wine better than machine harvesting when all is said and done? This is a good discussion too as manual labor is getting harder to find and more expensive for the harvest and wine makers may in the future have to use more machine harvesting. Will wine quality go down due to this? A new can of worms is opened.
 

jburtner

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
619
Reaction score
440
"Foot Stomping" - Is there a series of buckets with KMETA to sanitize first? I hope so...

-johann
 
Top