Grape stomping will be your new favorite fall activity for 2018

courtesy of Carlos Creek Winery

As summer begins to wind down, we all start shifting into fall mode. Everyone breaks out the flannel shirts, and businesses bombard us with pumpkin spice, well, everything.

But, if you’re ready for something a bit different to shake up the old standard routine for the fall season, look no further than the annual Grape Stomp festivals happening all around the state.

This will definitely be your new favorite fall tradition.

Not only will you be able to get out of the cities and explore our state’s beautiful vineyards, but Grape Stomp festivals always have tons of fun activities from costume contests, music and food, to wine tastings and vineyard tours, with of course, the grand event: stomping grapes. And always family-friendly, the kids will be able to get in on the action too and have a memorable time stomping and squishing grapes.

Here are Grape Stomp festivals happening this September. I also should recommend not to wear your good fall flannel as red grapes definitely have the tendency to stain.

Carlos Creek Winery

photo courtesy of Carlos Creek Winery

One of the larger Grape Stomps, Carlos Creek’s festivities spread over three days which are packed with entertainment showcasing 12 bands on 4 stages, over 150 food options, art and marketplace vendors, brews from August Schell’s & Fargo Brewery, wine tasting, and finally, the main event, the grape stomping competitions.  

Over the course of the festival 300 teams stomp on more than 10,000 pounds of grapes. With two people per team – the ‘stomper’ and the ‘juicer’ – eight teams will compete against each other to see who can make the most Vino D’Feet wine. Winners will take home the coveted “We Came, We Stomped, We WON” tshirt and move on to the Grand Championship for a chance to win a case of that lovely Vino D’Feet wine. Yum?

Each day of the festival has a special theme and costume contest such as the Toga Grape Stomp and a Lucy-Look-Alike Grape Stomp. Kids get the chance to compete as well with the free “Little Foot Stomp” on Sunday.

The festival is free to attend but if you want to compete in the Grape Stomp you can pre-register online for $25 per team.

Dates for the Festival are:

Friday, September 14, 2018 – Noon-7pm
Saturday, September 15, 2018 – 10am-7pm
Sunday, September 16, 2018 – 11am-4pm

Crow River Winery

Head out to Hutchinson for this one day Grape Stomp Festival extravaganza. The day starts out with the Itty Bitty Stompin’ competition for the little ones ages 12 or younger, with the adults competing later in the day in teams of two trying to earn medals and move on to the Championship Heat for the chance to win the Grand Prize.

Along with the exciting grape stomping competitions, you will also enjoy live music all day long with bands 2 Sisters and Traveled Ground and shop from dozens of vendors like the Enchanted Trunk, Jackie’s Cupcakes, Pink Zebra, Sugar Shanty, and more. Crow River’s wine tasting room will be open for you to try out their specialties as well as their outdoor bar serving both wine and beer by the glass.

And if you’re not too tuckered out from the grape stomping and want another challenge, make your way over to The Maze and find your way through over 12 acres of twists and turns in this “Farmyard” themed corn maze.

To compete in the Grape Stomp you can register online for $25 per adult team and only $10 for the kids’ Grape Stomp.

The Festival is coming up on Saturday, September 22 from 2-10pm and is free to attend.

Saint Croix Vineyards

photo courtesy Saint Croix Vineyards

Everyone will get the chance to experience the squish of the Grape Stomp at Saint Croix Vineyards’ 18th Annual Grape Stomp. It’s completely free to attend both the festival and Grape Stomp competitions. However, for the grape stomping competitions, instead of registering, a drawing will be held to determine who will compete in the stomp for both kids and adults. You can enter your name when you arrive, but not to worry if your name isn’t picked as inbetween competitions everyone still has the opportunity to try their hand, or rather feet at stomping grapes.

Prizes for the Grape Stomp competitions will be awarded based on best grape-stomping style as determined by audience applause.

You’ll also enjoy free live music by Funktion Junktion and can go on free vineyard and winery tours both days of the festival at 1pm and 3pm. If you’d like to sample some of the vineyards select wines you can head to their tasting room for only $6 and enjoy their sparkling wine varieties.

The festival is on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9 with the Grape Stomp competitions held each day at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm.

Northern Vineyards Winery

photo courtesy of Northern Vineyards Winery

Located close to the Twin Cities, Northern Vineyards is right in the heart of downtown Stillwater with panoramic views of the beautiful St. Croix River and historic Lift Bridge. The Grape Stomp is open to everyone and many come wearing fun costumes or crazy outfits. You can sign up for a time slot and then in groups of two you’ll stomp grapes for 5 minutes. For this festival there is no competition or prizes, just the joy of grape stomping. Included in the cost, you will receive a tshirt to decorate with your footprints after you stomp the grapes into juice.

After the grape stomping you can partake in a wine tasting, lounge on their large patio deck with a glass of wine overlooking the river, and then head out on the town exploring the rest of downtown Stillwater.

The Northern Grape Stomp is on Saturday, September 22 from 11am-7pm. Cost is $15 per person for grape stomping.

Stomping grapes and exploring Minnesota’s beautiful vineyards is the perfect way to spend a crisp fall afternoon with friends and family. Plus, as a bonus, there’s absolutely nothing pumpkin spice in sight.

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