By Adam Robertson
If you like wine and getting your feet dirty, this is an event for you. The Pahrump Valley Winery Grape Stomp is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the fruits of Bacchus while getting a workout and having good, messy fun.
The Pahrump Valley Winery—about an hour west of Las Vegas—holds its annual Grape Stomp October 1-2. Teams of two get two minutes to “stomp their hearts out” and try to extract as much juice out of their grapes as possible. The event begins at high noon and usually ends around 4:30 p.m., with competitions every 15 minutes.
Slots fill up quickly, so it is recommended that teams sign up early. Registration must be done in advance, and the $30 fee covers the cost of admission, competition entry fee, and T-shirts.
Along with the competition are wine tastings, food, crafts from local vendors, and music. Prizes include gift certificates to the winery’s restaurant (Symphony’s) and gift shop and are awarded to the best teams per hour and per day, best costumes, and “worst” stomper. The winery also hosts its largest sale of the year, with many of its wines discounted below wholesale.
Based on an Italian grape-harvest festival, the Grape Stomp was started in the mid-’90s, and the tradition continued when Bill and Gretchen Loken took over the winery in 2003. Since then, the Lokens have expanded the stage and turned the Grape Stomp from a small one-day affair into a two-day event with more than 3,000 attendees.
Nevada may seem like an unusual place to grow grapes and make wine, and the Pahrump Valley Winery has certainly had their share of challenges: from wild horses eating plants to making sure crops are sufficiently watered. However, by use of drought-resistant roots, special trelliswork, and a bit of luck, the winery has managed to cultivate 13 acres of grapes, for an estimated harvest of more than 35 tons for 2012.
In 2008, the winery released Nevada’s first commercial red wine (2005 zinfandel), which won gold at the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition. It was the first victory of many, giving rise to Pahrump Valley Winery’s claim of “Bringing Gold to the Silver State.”
Pahrump Valley Winery Grape Stomp
October 1-2; event opens at 11 a.m., grape stomping starts at noon.
General Admission: $10
Pahrump Valley Winery
3810 Winery Rd., Pahrump, NV 89048