Grape Stomping Then & Now


The first weekend of our Annual Harvest Festival is in the books and our staff is busy getting everything ready for Weekend 2!  This year, we are celebrating 46 years of connecting friends, family, and Texas wine lovers in a range of daytime and evening events for all to enjoy.

Experience the process of winemaking from vine to glass as you pick the grapes that go into our award-winning Port wine. Take a second to stomp your harvest and sign your exclusive Messina Hof Harvest Crew Member shirt with your own footprints! Grape stomping is a popular event that allows guests to experience the traditional art of winemaking and is a vital attraction at our Harvest Festival. But when did grape stomping originate?


Grape Stomping in Ancient Rome

In order to make wine, grapes must first be crushed, and the juice extracted. For years, this was done by stomping the grapes with one’s feet. Grape stomping dates all the way back to ancient Rome. Ancient Romans drank and appreciated wine in 200 BC and due to visual representations on a Roman Empire sarcophagus we can assume they were one of the earliest to use the stomping method. Grape stomping is the first step in the traditional wine-making process and is one of the most important steps.


The Rise of the Mechanical Grape Press

When pressing grapes with simple body weight, applied pressure could vary. Nowadays, there are more efficient ways of extracting the juice such as a wine press. However, there were many different variations on the route to the modern mechanical grape press such as the “cake” press, the basket press, the horizontal wine press, the steam-powered press, and finally the hydraulic “tank” press, each equipped with their own advancements.


Grape Stomping Competitions

While mechanical pressing does make wine production more efficient, many contemporary wineries like our Estate Winery and Hill Country Winery host grape-stomping contests to pay tribute to the early days of wine-making while letting our guests have a bit of competitive fun. Get a winning team together and visit us again next year at our Annual Wine & Roses Festival!

Your next grape stomp is just around the corner. Join us every weekend in August for our 46th Annual Harvest Festival. Get your tickets today before events fill up!