HAPY FEET Happy feet with the sun shining on them at Black Mesa’s 8th Annual Pick and Stomp. Photo by Robert Naranjo for the valleydailypost.com
“Pick and Stomp” Harvest & Grape Stomping At Black Mesa Winery
By ROBERT NARANJO
Velarde – How many readers remember the zany antics of Lucille Ball in the popular sitcom, “I Love Lucy,” where in one episode she ends up stomping grapes with professional women “stompers.” It’s hilarious as she tries to keep up with the women who have done it all their lives but she ends up falling into the grapes instead.
While not quite the same thing, a harvest and grape stomping, sans Lucy, took place at Black Mesa Winery in Velarde on Sun. Oct. 22nd.. It’s a combination of harvesting and grape stomping. A “Pick and Stomp” one participant said it was known as.
Black Mesa Winery, of course, has equipment that compresses or squeezes the juice out of the grapes in a preliminary step in making wine.
Grapes shown here before they meet the feet! Photo by Robert Naranjo for the valleydailypost.com
Smaller vineyards and wineries in New Mexico have traditionally used volunteers to harvest grapes and throw a BBQ for them for their time and assistance.
“Love on the grapes” as this couple demonstrates. They won the unofficial award of having the most fun stomping the grapes. They danced, jumped, and got their T-shirts all full of grape juice making them look like “tie-dye” T-shirts. Photo by Robert Naranjo for the valleydailypost.com
The grape stomping is an addition to the harvest event. Jerry Burd, owner of Black Mesa Winery along with his wife Linda, told the valleydailypost.com that there are grape stomping events in Colorado and California, however, in California there are restrictions that do not permit the stomped grapes to be used in wine for sale. Burd said that they do use the stomped grapes in wine sold by the Black Mesa Winery and have had a Pick and Stomp event “for eight years.”
A wine glass with the Black Mesa logo on it. These wine glasses were used to sample a variety of different wines during the presentation by Craig Dunn with the Black Mesa Winery as part of the Pick and Stomp. Photo by Robert Naranjo for the valleydailypost.com
The harvest part of the Pick and Stomp was at Tim Martinez’s vineyard also in Velarde, currently known as Sierra Vista Farms, but soon to be a winery complete with a new name, “Vela Vineyard and Winery.”
Craig Dunn, of the Black Mesa Winery, gave a presentation of the different types of wine and the nuances between them–from dry to sweet and in between. Samples of the different wines were provided o the Pick and Stomp participants to “taste the difference.” And if they could tell if the wine had “residual sugar” or not.
There were about 30 or so people who participated in the Pick and Stomp and they learned quite a bit about wine from Dunn’s presentation which segued into lunch that was catered by Delancey Street caterers.
LUNCHTIME Delancey Street caterers serve lunch to the Pick and Stomp participants.. Photo by Robert Naranjo for the valleydailypost.com
After lunch, the participants in the Pick and Stomp climbed into four containers with hundreds of pounds of Baco Noir grapes in them and began stomping away. They really enjoyed themselves while stomping the grapes–some more than others. For most of them, it was the first time they had participated in a grape stomp. After about an hour and a half of stomping, while a gentleman played various tunes on bagpipes, the grapes were “smashed” (no pun intended).
This gentleman and his wife participated in Black Mesa’s Pick and Stomp for his 80th birthday. They were visiting from Colorado. Photo by Robert Naranjo for the valleydailypost.com
Lynda Burd, (wife of Jerry Burd), told the valleydailypost.com that the stomped grapes are put through the destemer (a machine that takes off the stems of the grapes) and then pressed again by a fairly large machine, then “yeast is added” and left for three days. After three days, the grape skins and seeds are removed and the wine making process continues.
If harvesting and grape stomping is something you would like to try, call Black Mesa Winery at (505) 852-2829 for next harvest season. Call in August or September to see when the harvest and grape stomping will occur and participation information.
It’s something that should be done at least once, if not more. The participants had a great time. The ladies in the episode of “I Love Lucy” were all business with both hands on their hips stomping away. You’re not expected to be that good, the idea is just to experience something that one finds “Only In New Mexico!”