NEW ULM - Cambria Crush grape stompers were escorted to their tubs full of grapes Saturday by costumed, dancing men.
The Minnesota Traditional Morris dancers of the Twin Cities metro area danced to violin, melodeon and pipe & tabor music in a style common to central England in the mid-Twentieth Century.
Cheered on by male and female dancers plus their friends and family, a full field of 22 stomper teams - mostly women, dressed in colorful and creative costumes - removed their shoes and socks and raised their skirts to stomp grapes for several minutes at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the winery.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Rosie the Riveter grape stomp team members compete Saturday at Morgan Creek Vineyards near Cambria.
After stomping grapes, stompers were allowed to rinse off their feet in a tub of warm water.
Heidi Brandes of Courtland, part of the "Rosie the Riveter" team, competed in the grape crush for the first time.
"It was cold, but it was fun," Brandes said.
Another team of St. James and Madelia women - "In It To Wine It," felt the same way.
"It was lots of fun. I'd do it again," said Kaela Kelly of Mankato.
"My feet were numb, but we'll come back," said Alyssa Kunz of Madelia.
Other team names included "Up a Creek without a Bottle."
Wine was carefully measured and weighed after the stomping. Top stompers received a free case of wine (worth about $200). The person wearing the best stomping costume won a free bottle of season dessert, Black Ice, or Sweet E wine.
Hundreds of spectators came early to sample wine and cheese. The wine line was the longest, plus other fare including locally-produced fudge, Artisan Flat Breads, organic buckwheat bread, and of course, locally-grown and produced bottles or glasses of wine.
Off-site parking and shuttle bus service was offered to vineyard-goers.