Donkey & Goat

Berkeley's first natural winery, crafting wines
from sustainably farmed vineyards since 2004.

Stomping the old vine Syrah

A lively, fast-working crowd of volunteers sorted, stomped, and crushed the Syrah from McDowell Valley on Sunday, in celebration of Jared and Tracey’s fifth anniversary. It takes some devoted winemakers to celebrate their marriage working on a mighty 4 tons of grapes! First planted way back in 1894, the vines providing these big juicy grapes are from some of the oldest Syrah vines in California. But they still seem to be going strong—it took all afternoon and many busy hands to get the Syrah in barrels.

Sunday was also my first, long-awaited stomping experience. Because the barrel was nearly as high as my head, I needed to hop up a ladder in order to get in. Cold, plump, squishy purple grapes greeted my bare feet and soon my whole legs as I sunk deeper and deeper with each movement. My strategy was to move as quickly as possible in order to be most efficient, keep warm, and avoid sinking all the way to the bottom. It was actually quite a workout, which felt good after hours of standing next to the sorting platform. I kept hoping Isabel would help me out, but she was too busy tricycling around the lot to help me with the dirty work. Luckily, I brought my strong-legged Ultimate Frisbee teammates to stomp the other barrels. Finally, I knew the job was done when purple juice started seeping up over the top layer of grapes. I hope Jared and Tracey were able to wrap up quickly and actually relax for the remainder of their anniversary celebration!

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