Grape stomping

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Arianne Caoili (left) performing grape stomping during the 3rd Annual Wine Festival in Artsakh
Grape stomping during the a traditional grape harvest festival in Spain.

Grape-stomping (also known as pigeage[1][2][3]) is part of method of maceration used in traditional winemaking. Rather than using a wine press or other mechanized method, grapes were crushed by having barefoot participants repeatedly stomp on them in vats to release their juices and begin fermentation. Stomping was widespread in the history of winemaking, but with the introduction of industrial methods, it now survives mostly as a recreational or competitive activity at cultural festivals.


One of the earliest extant visual representations of the practice appears on a Roman Empire sarcophagus from the 3rd century AD, which depicts an idealized pastoral scene with a group of Erotes harvesting and stomping grapes at Vindemia, a rural festival.[4]

Many contemporary wineries hold grape-stomping contests to attract visitors. The practice is also the subject of many depictions in contemporary media, including the 1974 Mel Tillis song "Stomp Them Grapes," the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy's Italian Movie," and The Littlest Grape Stomper,[5] a children's book by Alan Madison.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Feiring, Alice (2011). Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally. Da Capo Press, ISBN 9780306820489
  2. ^ Clarke, Oz (2009). Oz Clarke's Pocket Wine Guide 2010. Sterling Publishing Company, ISBN 9781402771248
  3. ^ Cheap, BA (2010). Mr. Cheap's Guide to Wine. Adams Media, ISBN 9781440517594
  4. ^ Wight, Karol (2008). Roman sarcophagus, c. 290-300 AD. The J. Paul Getty Museum
  5. ^ Madison, Alan (27 February 2007). "The Littlest Grape Stomper". Schwartz & Wade – via Amazon.
  6. ^ Hope, Morrison (2007). The Littlest Grape Stomper (review). Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Volume 60, Number 9, May 2007

External links[edit]

Media related to Grape treading at Wikimedia Commons