Let the good times flow

Published 10:02 am Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Lucy look-alike participates in Morgan Creek Vineyard's annual Grape Stomp.

Morgan Creek Vineyards prepares for annual grape stomp

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

It’s one of the most famous episodes of I Love Lucy.

Lucy and Ethel visit a winery in Italy and learn to stomp grapes the old-fashioned way.

Every year, thousands of people visit Shelby County to watch a re-enactment of that scene. Morgan Creek Vineyard’s annual Grape Stomp attracts Lucy look-alikes from across the country.

Charles Brammer, one of the owners of Morgan Creek Vineyards, said attendance exploded a few years ago after the event was profiled in the Wall Street Journal.

For most people, the Grape Stomp is simply an afternoon of fun. However, Brammer said the event has historical significance.

“Grape Stomp is a harvest festival, actually,” he said.

Morgan Creek Vineyard uses modern technology for its annual harvest, but the art of making wine is still fairly straightforward, Brammer said.

“Making wine is a very, very simple process,” he said. “Earlier in the year, we made peach and blueberry wine, but this is the real harvest.”

The harvesting began in late August. After the grapes are harvested, the fruit has to be crushed. To create white wine, they just use the juice from the fruit. For red wine, they also use the skin of the fruit. Brammer said the same is true for other types of wine.

“If we press the juice out of blueberries, we’d get a clear wine,” he said.

Once the grapes are crushed, they add yeast and allow it to ferment.

“When it’s through fermenting, we’ll sweeten it and bottle it,” he said.

While the official harvest has begun, Brammer said Morgan Creek Vineyards is looking forward to the Grape Stomp.

While the Lucy look-alikes get the biggest cheers at the festival, anyone is allowed to stomp the grapes, although it’s a messy affair.

“That juice gets awfully sticky in just a few minutes,” he said with a laugh.

The Grape Stomp will be held Sept. 15 from 10 a.m.- 4p.m. at Morgan Creek Vineyards, 181 Morgan Creek Lane, Harpersville.

The Grape Stomp also includes wine tasting and winery tour, in addition to the Lucy look-alike contest at 2 p.m. Bonus Round will provide musical entertainment. Admission is $10.