Annual grape stomp returns this weekend

Pahrump Valley Winery owners Bill and Gretchen Lokken are pleased this weekend’s annual Grape Stomp contest will occur under sunny skies and mild temperatures, unlike last year when rain put a damper on the final day of the event.

The Grape Stomp, a fixture in town since 1990, is one of the winery’s most popular community events. The Lokkens took it over in 2003.

Additionally, they expanded the grape stomp to two days.

“It was four or five years ago when we decided to expand from one day to two days because it just got too big for one day, but it’s a nice problem to have.”

Admission to the 11 a.m., event is $10, or $7 in advance.

Gretchen Lokken said participants will be broken off in teams of two.

“One person is in the barrel stomping away with their feet and the other has their hands in there smashing the grapes to extract the juice,” she said. “The objective is to see how much juice you can smoosh from the grapes.”

Lokken also said it’s best for the stompers to wear shoes while competing.

“The participants want to wear shoes because grape stems can be sharp and hurt your little feet,” she said. “It is truly is a team effort. The duration is two minutes each. If they want, to they can switch up.”

Additionally, Lokken said she’s not quite certain of a particular method that works best.

She said, however, that the weight of the stomper makes a difference in extracting the juice.

“The more weight you have, the more mass there is on the bottom,” she said. “The person with their hands in the barrel is also important because they have to prevent the drain hole from getting clogged in order for the juice to come down.”

Along with the competition, Lokken said, food and entertainment will be part of the weekend.

“We will offer wine tastings and live music from a group called Shenanigans,” she said. “Romero’s Mexican Restaurant will also be here. We ask that people not bring their own food or alcohol because we will have all of that here. We also ask visitors to leave their pets at home because we are going to have a lot of people here and it’s not a safe environment with animals and all of the activities going on.”

In previous years the Grape Stomp coincided with the annual Fall Festival.

Lokken said the decision was made to move the event to avoid the conflict.

“We stopped that because we found that we were kind of getting the same people and it was hurting the Fall Festival and it was hurting us,” she said. “We decided to move our event to October, so for the past several years, it has always been the first weekend of October.”

Centuries ago, stomping on grapes was the method used to make wine in Europe. Lokken made sure to note that is not the case at Pahrump Valley Winery.

“This is the original way wine was made,” she said. “I think there is still some small villages in Europe that still use that method, but we certainly do not. We will however, have a huge wine sale and the restaurant will serve lunch but we won’t be open for dinner on Saturday and Sunday evening. We will shut the whole thing down about 5 or 5:30 p.m. and I will be enjoying the full glass of wine at that time.”

The Pahrump Valley Winery is located at 3810 Winery Road, off of Highway 160.

For additional information call 775-751-7800.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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