Grape treading

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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-treading or grape-stomping is part of the method of maceration used in traditional wine-making.[1][2][3] 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.[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]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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