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Wines of the San Juan Celebrates 20 Years

10/10/2022

After ten tons of red and white grapes are picked, it’s time to party at Wines of the San Juan’s annual Harvest Festival. Visitors arrived by the thousands for the two-day event to enjoy wine, art, food, live music, and the celebrated Great Grape Stomp. By Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by Service Master Restore and Boon’s Family Thai BBQ

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After 10 tons of red and white grapes were picked, it was time to celebrate at Wines of the San Juan's 20th annual harvest festival in Turley, New Mexico. Visitors arrived for the two-day event in the literal thousands to enjoy art, food, wine, music and the event's most popular affair: the great grape stomp. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by ServiceMaster Restore and Boon's Family Thai BBQ. I'm Hayley Opsal. Grape stomping used to be a key element of winemaking. The development of modern machinery has reduced this method of maceration with bare feet down to strictly entertainment. The great grape stomp is the highlight event at the harvest festival at Wines of the San Juan.

The Wine Stomp is amazing. So we have about 12 teams every year, and they come costumed, they can pick out whatever theme they want. Usually it's wine-related, sometimes it's not. We have a lot of I Love Lucy's. Today we had the Grape Gatsby. We had the Grape Busters instead of the Ghost Busters. So children can do it, adults can do it, anyone can do it. It's a three-minute stomp. They've got to stomp their little hearts out for two minutes and then one minute, they do a pour-off and try and get out as much juice as they can. And then we do a prize for the most juice stomped, we do first, second and third, and then for the costume contest, we do just a grand prize overall.

J.B. Herd of Gurango, dressed as the Grape Gatsby, won second place for stomping out the most grape juice.

It was squishy. Really squishy between the toes.

Located in the lovely San Juan River Valley, Wines of the San Juan marks two decades of grape growing and harvesting in 2022. For owner Marcia Arnold, late September is her favorite time of the year; the festival her reward for 12 months of remorseless labor.

What you see today is the most enjoyable part of it. It's just having family and friends that gather and you see people you've known over the years. And it's just really rewarding.

The harvest festival has just grown bigger and better, this year with 70 vendors and artisans. and although Wines of the San Juan has won many awards across the years, they like to remain modest.

We're comfortable. We like everybody to come out and have a good time. We're approachable, it's easy going, it's not hard to reach. Some wines kind of feel like there's a... Something about them that just makes them difficult to get into. You've got to know so much and you've got to be able to swirl and spit and know what you're tasting for and things like that. We're just like drink what you love and love what you drink. Come on out and have a good time.

The Arnold family's annual winter cleanup of sticks and leaves results in a massive bonfire each fall, this year on October 22, where there will be wine, beer, food and live music. For more information on wine-tastings and events, go to winesofthesanjuan.com. Thanks for watching this edition of Local News Network. I'm Hayley Opsal.

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