When Grape Stomping Becomes a Fiesta

Stomping, or crushing grapes (from French pigeage) by feet is an age-old trend. There are lots and lots of evidences that the practice of stepping on grapes in tubs, vats, or lagars to make wine has been running since last 8,000 years just to celebrate the advent of Spring. In 2017, scientists found some earthen wine pots decorated with images of grapes and a man dancing in Tbilisi, Georgia.

But why the best winemakers across the world still rely mostly on stomping grapes, especially when machine processing is prevalent?

“The foot crushing gets the fermentation going quicker and adds to the intensity,” Gary Robinson of California’s Left Bend Winery once quipped at tastingtable.com, a trendsetter food portal from New York. Stomping grapes is always a smooth process that avoids crushing grape seeds, resulting in a smoother flavor.

Experts say the foot provides more balance over the wine’s flavor quotient. It helps to reduce seed breaking and customize tannin structure which can create deep off and harsh flavors.

Grape Stomping @Vedic Village

I know quite a few Stomping festivals in Western India, including the Sulafest in Nashik. And since, this year the much-hyped Sulafest is not taking place, which was scheduled on 1st and 2nd February, 2022, Eastern Region’s one and only Grape Stomping event @ Vedic Village got the momentum. Vedic has been holding this signature event since last 5 years. But then, there was not much propagation behind it. This year, on 13th February, the fun fare and fiesta reached its zenith with more than 200 guests bore a pocket-pinch of Rs.1999 + tax to get an entry and enjoy the full day with unlimited Continental Brunch,  free-flowing, non-stop wine, huge spread of main course, Live DJ, and Live bands.

The afternoon party started with some grooving numbers and the sleepy-sloppy hamlet came back to life! The aroma of fresh wine and the guests tasting it with some delectable cold cuts under the sun makes me remind of John Keats, when he says, Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.”

A not-so-deep wooden well hosts the grape stomping, where the ripe grapes were pouring in at regular intervals helping the madness to get intensified. To add to the frenzy, there was the live nail arts corner and the ‘Ranpa’ performers in bright yellow attire catching the attention of the onlookers. The party buffs, who actually joined in search of some amazing food started queuing up outside the cold cuts corner. The Smoked Ham and Olive Skewers and the Chicken Liver Pate was out of the world. Though, to my mind, both the items deserve much more fancy display with some strategic luminaries. Then you’ve live grills, pasta, noodles, and pizza bar.

Reading through this, are you getting bored? Do you find this running commentary a bit mellow? Believe me, this picturesque party is not everyday affair. It is something that even a brilliant click can fail to describe the vibes. And I murmur to myself as I drive back home:

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been

Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,

Tasting of Flora and the country green,

Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!

Day’s Menu For the Food Enthusiasts:

Antipasti

Cheese | Salads | Cold Meats  | Jams | Dips | Crisps | Nuts

Cheese Platter

Mozzarella | Brie | Cheddar | Parmesan | Stilton  | Feta

Canapes – Veg | Non Veg

On – Crackers | Toasts | Papri  | Focaccia  | Pita

Cold Meat Skewers

Smoked Ham And Olive Skewers

Chicken Salami-Chilli-Mayonnaise

Steamed Chicken Sausages & Garlic

 Crispies

Cheese Straws   | Melba Toasts  | Sticks  | Home Made Nachos | Prawn Crackers

Cold Meats

Chicken Pepper Galantine | Chicken Terrine

Meat Loaf | Spiced Local Ham

Pate – Mushroom  | Chicken Liver

Terrine – Ham Hock And Mustard | Smoked Bekti

Salads

Steamed Chicken, Basil Mayonnaise & Avocado

Moroccan Spiced Olives , Lettuce , Balsamic Veggies

Mushrooms & Tender Beans

Three Beans Mille Feuille

Deviled Eggs

 Jams | Dips | Chutneys

Jams – Bacon  | Brown Onion | Dry Mango

Dips – Sour Cream And Onion  | Bbq Mayo  | Burnt Tomato

Chutneys – Prune | Blueberry

 Appetizers

Minced Lamb And Onion Patty

Chicken Scallion & Coriander Pate

Smoked Potatoes , Cheddar , Sour Cream

Cottage Cheese BBQ , Cilantro Mayo

Live Counters

Sandwich – Plain | Grilled | Open

Breads – Focaccia | Multigrain | Baguette | Brioche

Non Veg – Egg And Cheddar | Pickled Prawn , Hummus

Veg – Candid Tomato , Lettuce  | Spiced Coleslaw

 Grills

Non Veg Options: – Fish —  Cazun Blend | Chicken – Zattar Spiced

Vegetarian Options: Stuffed Cottage Cheese Steak | Mushroom Cap

Sausages – Chicken Cocktail  | Entally Masala Chicken   | Entally Masala Pork | Pickled Chicken

Sides

Feta – Onion Mash | Wilted Spinach | Sauteed Vegetables

Suaces: Bbq | Pan Gravy | Warm Grapes Compote

Fries: French Fries | Cajun Spiced Potato Wedges

 Pizzas & Pastas

Pizzas

Mixed Sausages, Onion And Fresh Coriander Leaves

Grilled Vegetables, Feta, Olives & Fresh Coriander Leaves.

Pastas

Three Types Of Pasta– Penne | Spaghetti | Farfelle

Sauces–Arrabiata | Pesto | Mornay

Choice Of Vegetables

Meat: Chicken

Fillers

Smoked Chicken Pilaf  |  Burnt Garlic Raita

Dal Live – Yellow  | Dal Makhani

Desi Eggs Live

Pan Fry Noodles –  Egg , Chicken , Veg

Desserts

Lemon Curd Basbousa | Assorted Fresh Cream Tarts | Sweet Curd Mousse

Dark Chocolate Opera Slices   | Milky Cheese Balls , Jaggery Flavour

Hot – Winter Carrot Pudding |  Sticky Date Pudding , Fudge Sauce

Sundae Counter Live – Ice Creams , Brownie , Toppings , Sauces

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