Murphys grape stomp upon us


By Mike Morris / The Union Democrat

More than 5,000 pounds of wine grapes are expected to be crushed Saturday during the 20th anniversary of the Calaveras Grape Stomp.

The stomp begins at Murphys Community Park at 9:30 a.m., while the Gold Rush Street Faire takes place along the town's Main Street.

"We probably have up to 10,000 people show up throughout the day," said coordinator Donna Schantz.

This year is the earliest that registration sold out, Schantz said.

During the stomp, teams of two - a swabber, also known as a mucker, and a stomper – compete to crush the most juice out of 25 pounds of grapes in three minutes.

With names such as "Wine Me Up," "We Have Zinned" and "Stomp, Hammer Time," 120 teams come from throughout the foothillsas well as the Bay Area.

The juice made from each team is weighed on "digital scales that go down to the minute ounce," Schantz said.

The winners from each round compete against each other during two semi-final stomps and a Championship Stomp. During the latter stomp, more grapes are given and the teams have five minutes to crush.

Last year, "The Wright Stuff," of Hercules, Contra Costa County, was crowned the champion after stomping 18.67 pounds of juice.

Teams are encouraged to wear costumes, and prizes are awarded for the best costumes.

Staged by the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance, the grape stomp also features wine tasting and a live and silent auction that benefits nonprofits in Calaveras County.

The hundreds of volunteers who have helped at the event during the past two decades will be recognized Saturday with a pin, commemorative wineglass and complimentary glass of wine.

"This year we're honoring all of the volunteers over the past 20 years," Schantz said.

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