Grape-treading or grape-stomping is part of the method of maceration used in traditional wine-making. Rather than being crushed in a wine press or by another mechanized method, grapes are repeatedly trampled in vats by barefoot participants to release their juices and begin fermentation. Grape-treading 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.
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, a children's book by Alan Madison.
The novel The Secret of Santa Vittoria and the film based on it, taking place in a wine-producing Italian town during WWII, include a grape treading scene which has a major role in the battle of wits between the townspeople and their German occupiers.
- Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally. Da Capo Press, ISBN 9780306820489
- Clarke, Oz (2009). Oz Clarke's Pocket Wine Guide 2010. Sterling Publishing Company, ISBN 9781402771248
- Cheap, BA (2010). Mr. Cheap's Guide to Wine. Adams Media, ISBN 9781440517594
- Wight, Karol (2008). Roman sarcophagus, c. 290-300 AD. The J. Paul Getty Museum
- Madison, Alan (27 February 2007). "The Littlest Grape Stomper". Schwartz & Wade – via Amazon.
- Hope, Morrison (2007). The Littlest Grape Stomper (review). Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Volume 60, Number 9, May 2007
Media related to Grape treading at Wikimedia Commons
- World Championship Grape Stomp via Sonoma County Harvest Fair