“Why are you all dressed alike? What’s with the polka-dots?”
The slightly tipsy woman was staring at the seven of us dressed in various impersonations of Lucy and Ethel stomping grapes from the classic “I Love Lucy” episode. I looked our group up and down. Some did look like Lucy & Ethel, but a few of us looked more like homeless waifs. And one was more on the Raquel Welch side.
But we were all aligned in our mission and armed with wine glasses in the Santa Ynez Valley to do one thing: a grape stomp. Ok, maybe two things: taste the new Kalyra releases (especially the sparkling Brut Rose) right out of the barrels. After a few rounds of spicy bratwurst sausages in the tasting room, we headed straight for the stomping area, which just happened to be adjacent to the sparkling stainless steel barrels.
First, we needed a few quick tastes of fresh Brut Rose in various stages of fermentation, which were poured by the winemaker himself, then we placed our shoes all in a line, held up our skirts and climbed into the big trays of grapes. The water was cold, the grapes squished between our toes like slugs and the unfiltered Brut Rose was deliciously fruity. The gracious owners of Kalyra winery let us stomp grapes to our heart’s content, until we heard the band strike up on the front porch and realized our glasses were empty.
“Look, there go the Lucys,” someone said as we traipsed to the porch, just in time to fill our glasses and jump on the winery tractor for a tour of the vineyards.
We had to explain ourselves to a few of the youngsters on the tour, but most people got our outfits that day. And stomping the grapes was great fun, but I’m glad the winemaker has enough sense to use different grapes in the wines (not stomped by these particular human feet). I wouldn’t drink it after seeing all the stompers that day; in fact, I’ll just wait for the Brut Rose to come out, thank you very much.