Wednesday, September 5, 2007

They All Stared in Disbelief At My Big Feet, But When I Started To Stomp...

I Felt The
THRILL of Victory

And Then ...

The AGONY of

7:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 6

My coffee is steaming on my desk and I find myself daydreaming. Seven years ago I was on a flight from Tokyo to Dallas watching one of Lucille Ball’s classic episodes… The Grape Stomp. (More accurately it was the 150th episode, Lucy’s Italian Movie that aired on aired April 16, 1956). I remember thinking; I should do this at the winery some day. Now I’m planning our 5th Annual Grape Stomping on September 15.

Who would have thunk that a 25-year corporate veteran would retire, move to about the farthest Northwest corner of the country and try her hands at rebuilding one of the oldest wineries in the state of Washington? Believe me, semi-conductors to grapes is not the most natural career path.

Wine does have the ability to “sucker and seduce” you into doing things totally out of your comfort zone… so when researching how to do a grape stomp and buying prizes, I got myself some rather “sexy but warm” Lucille Ball grape stomping flannel pajamas. I’ve got them on right now… got to be in the right mood to plan out the gazillion details that go into this event.

Oh, we learned so much the first year…. I ordered 2 tons of grapes. That’s a lot! We built the huge grape stomp tank (barrel staves encircling a 6 foot aluminum tank) to look just like the one in the Lucy Show. I pitchforked about 500 pounds into the tub, then tried it out and fell flat on my butt. The tank was slick as “snot” loaded with grapes. So, then out came the grapes (now it’s a total of 1000 pounds shoveled) and in went a piece of old carpet, Voila!! Again, I shoveled the grapes back in…. now 1500 pounds… I’m more than sweaty and not so perky any more in my “most classic harvest costume” and a red wig that now looks more like road kill.

After 6 years, this is still my favorite of all the winery events (even the skydiving!). You can get a real sense of the “grape” even if it is squishing up through your toes cold, sticky and wet. And yes, your stomp partner might have a bit of those grapes adorning their head since you’re really stomping to win your “competition heat” so you advance to the finals, “The Grand Stomp Off”. The Thrill of Victory or The Agony of de-FEET…. It’s still one of those life’s experiences that will not be forgotten.

Imagine yourself now, the competition is over. You have a celebratory wine glass in hand. The band is doing a sound check and you’re just about to listen to Leroy Bell. This is going to be a magical performance. He’s written for Elton John and opened for artists as diffuse as B.B. King, Al Green, Taj Mahal and Lee Ann Rimes. And, you have A FRONT ROW seat on the winery patio. It doesn’t get any better than this.

On a more serious note, Olympic Cellars is donating ticket proceeds from the Grape Stomp and Concert to the Clallam County Youth Suicide Prevention Program. This program is hard for people to talk about and harder to fund. We want to pack the winery grounds!

Grape Stomping Harvest Party and Concert
Saturday, September 15 1-6:30 p.m.

Kathleen Charlton
Owner/Manager, Olympic Cellars Winery
Home of Working Girl Wines
Created By Women, In Support of Women

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