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January 15, 2021

A Woman Stomping Grapes for Wine in Frascati, Italy, 1957

Although presses have taken over almost everywhere in Italy, grapes are still crushed by foot at this winery in the famed wine making town of Frascati, near Rome, Italy. Atop a tall barrel, this woman steps through the ancient method, trampling bunches of grapes underfoot. The stems are removed later.

One of the earliest extant visual representations of the practice appears on a Roman Empire sarcophagus from the 3rd century AD, which depicts an idealized pastoral scene with a group of Erotes harvesting and stomping grapes at Vindemia, a rural festival.

Many contemporary wineries hold grape-stomping contests to attract visitors. The practice is also the subject of many depictions in contemporary media, including the 1974 Mel Tillis song “Stomp Them Grapes”, the I Love Lucy episode “Lucy’s Italian Movie”, and The Littlest Grape Stomper, a children’s book by Alan Madison.


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