Because who doesn’t like the feeling of squished grapes between their toes? Forgive me as I am enjoying some Muscadine Chablis as I compose my story. I cannot promise that there isn’t a wee bit alcoholic inspiration spilling out of my cup from this bottle into my story as well as my mouth as I sip and type away.
Today we completed a must-do for wine lovers all around. We discovered an awesome festival through the grapevine taking place just in time for our attendance. The Lakeridge Winery in Clermont was hosting their 20th Annual Harvest Grape Stomp on this lovely rainy day. Considering the fact that the land in Florida is so flat, you would not expect an 80-acre vineyard, right? This is no California or Napa Valley after all. The city of Clermont is among one of the hilliest in the state. This vineyard is the largest premium winery in the state for a reason. The vineyards were beautiful.
Once we arrived, the first thing on the agenda was to scope out the activities going on. Our first stop was the grape stomp. The line was obnoxiously long (although moving quickly) so we jumped in line to avoid standing around making no progress. We would figure out what we did after the grape stomp competition. We stepped up to the plate, ehrm bucket, and slid our feet right in. I know why there are hand rails now, and good thing too! Let’s just throw the most clumsy girl on earth in a bucket of the slipperiest substance possible. Besides the grapes being slippery, they were also cold and mushy. He added an entire pitcher of fresh grapes to the buckets and then we began stomping away. We had an entire minute to stomp to our hearts content but I was being careful. Apparently if you stomp too hard, foot grape juice sprays your entire leg. I was merely trying to avoid having grape carcasses on my thighs. In addition to almost falling, I was seconds from cutting my toe by jamming it too hard into the wall of the bucket, so I slowed down. I wasn’t trying to compete so obviously I did not win. I was too mesmerized by how my pinky toes were feeling to even try to fill my pitcher the most for a free T-Shirt. We stepped out and then proceeded to let the guy with the hose spray the grape carcasses off of our feet, and in my case, legs. By far this has been one of the funnest and unique activities I’ve done. We enjoyed every bit of it.
We arrived at the stairs just in time to go through the winery on a tour. We were educated for 15-minute through a video explaining the history of the vineyards and how it came to be. We also learned the process that goes into harvesting, making, bottling, then labeling the wine. I almost want to start my own backyard vineyard. Who says it isn’t possible? Dream big, baby! Anyway, then we exited the dark room out onto a bright balcony so we could hear more while we peer over the rails at the beautiful hilly view of the vineyard. Too bad I couldn’t hear a word he was saying but it was still an enjoyable view so I wasn’t complaining. We may or may not have been cracking jokes to each other the entire time. Oh, the life of a married couple.
The wine tasting was delectable. (Another off the list!) Since I’ve been 21 for over eight months now, I’ve done nothing of the sort. We were handed tiny vessels and in my husband’s case, two tiny vessels, to enjoy our splashes of wine in. The two types of wine that screamed at me the loudest were the Chablis obviously and the Southern Red (which coincidentally is their best-seller). We wandered through a tunnel in their factory surrounded by large vats of stainless steel and danger signs. The tubed halls were lined with helpers handing out various samples. There was a grand variation of reds, whites, bubblys, sweets, and drys. My favorite are always the sweeter wines and my husband loves the dry wines. I’m surprised we even came to an agreement on the bottle we adopted.
We decided to buy a souvenir wine bottle after all even though it was not our intention. We decided upon the Chablis because it is unlike any wine ever to come into contact with my taste buds. Muscadine grapes are native to our state and surprisingly delicious. My habit of collecting souvenir glasses nearly everywhere we venture to was visited today. We left with a beautiful flute wine glass to add to my glass collection on the shelf.