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October 22nd, 2005 ó Clos Du Val's 1st Annual Grape StompThis was by far the BEST event Iíve attended with regards to event participation, competition between friends and strangers, and the awards. This winery only need host this one event each year and it would be worth signing up for the Club Membership just to attend.
Three Addicts, Ian, Shane & Sue, and one Guest Addict, Matt, drove to the Silverado Trail that sunny, Saturday morning and found that the event didnít start until 11 a.m. Since it was 10 a.m. we decided to go loosen up with a little red at Regusci Winery. Matt was our substitute "Addict stomper" as David was out of the country on business Ė sucks to be David this day, as you will see. After drinking a few fine reds and listening to the Regusci staff member talk at the speed of light about the wines and his previous evening, which led to early morning events, we decided we better check in at CDV.
There were ten groups of four people competing in the event. We were expecting our main competition, a group of four friends from the City, but they had yet to arrive. At check in, each team was provided with colored bandanas, and we were pink Ė not by choice. We had to name our team, so we came up with the Rosť Runners Ė we donít drink it, but we were pink, so it fit. We looked around to size up our competition, and we felt fairly confident Ė may have also been our liquid courage from Regusci. Everyone, including us, was wearing T-shirts and shorts, the things that you didnít mind having to toss out afterwards. Then, our friends arrived. Wayne, Deanna, Steve and Sandy. The guys were dressed as everyone else, but Deanna had on her Seven jeans and Sandy was toting her designer purse. We knew at that moment, we were only competing against eight other teams.
After everyone checked in, we were informed of the rules. There were two parts to the competition. First each team was given a row of vines about 20-feet long. The rows were numbered 1 Ė 10. We were number 7. Two team members were given clippers and two were given large plastic tubs. The first team to clip all of their grapes on their vines, fill the tubs and carry the tubs about 100 feet to a wine barrel was the winner of part one. Part two was the stomping of the grapes you picked and the team that filled the most juice in their plastic jug in ten minutes won. The prize for both parts of the competition was a magnum of Reserve 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon signed by the founder of CDV, Bernard Portet, for each winning team member. When were heard that we could potentially win 8 magnums as a team it was GAME ON !
We started at each end of the vines in row 7 and when the whistle blew Shane and Ian were clipping like mad and Matt and I were pushing the tubs underneath to catch them. We finished clipping in what felt like less than a minute. We then picked up our tubs, one person on either side, and ran as fast as we could to our barrel. Shane thought he would be faster carrying it himself until Sue informed him that we could likely walk our grapes over as there was no one even close to us. We won part one with minutes to spare, and were actually drinking some Ariadne when the other teams got to their barrels.
After all of the teams arrived back and had a chance to relax with a tasting, it was time for part two. Sue and Matt were stompers, Shane supported us as it was easy to lose your balance, and Ian ensured the wine kept coming out of the spigot since it would easily get blocked by all of the grape skin. Five teams went first, and ours was one of them. We stomped as fast as we could and it was tiring. At first, it didnít seem like anything was coming out but then Ian was working like a mad man and we got the juice flowing. At whistle time, our juice line measured 5.125 inches. Our friends were also in the first group and they didnít come close. The next five teams went. It seemed to take forever. When they finished, it was obviously going to be a close call. After about 3 people measuring and re-measuring it was concluded that we had tied with another team. The event staff didnít know what to do at first as they hadnít planned on this happening. In the end, it was decided that since there was no provision for a tie, both teams would get magnums. We now were the winners of 2 magnums EACH. On top of it all, every team was given a bottle of Zinfandel, so we walked away with over $2,000 worth of wine. What a day. We wrapped it up on the front lawn of CDV eating barbecue and drinking í96 cab until we couldnít drink anymore. Weíll never forget it, and neither will David, Wayne, Deanna, Steve and Sandy.
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