Fans of Yonah Mountain Vineyards are warming up their legs for the annual Crush Fest from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at the vineyard at 1717 Ga. 255 S. in Cleveland.
The ninth annual event will feature live music, local artists, food and dessert trucks and wine tastings. It also offers a crowd favorite: grape stomping. Tickets are $40 for those who want to taste the wines and take home a souvenir wineglass, $25 for others. Children 16 and under are free.
“It’s really cool,” said Gabby Pace, internal events coordinator with Yonah Mountain Vineyards. “It’s something you don’t get to do often. You see it on TV or you see it online, so it’s just a cool experience to do it.”
Guests can climb into large vats filled with purple grapes from a nearby winery and start stomping to squeeze out all of the juice. Pace, who stomped grapes for her first time last year, said she’s seen young and old do it and enjoys seeing their reactions.
“There’s always a lot of girls who get in there,” Pace said. “They’re with their friends and they’re giggling and laughing and screaming because it’s such a different experience.”
But for guests who don’t want to get their feet dirty, there still is plenty to enjoy. The vineyard will have at least 12 bands to keep the music going all day. There will be 10 food trucks and five dessert trucks, vendors selling handmade items and helicopter rides offered.
One of the highlights is the wine tasting. Guests can sample four 3-ounce glasses of wines: Young American red and white, Green Label Estate chardonnay, 2015 Estate Grown meritage or Genesis 8. The vineyard’s newest wine, Young American rosé, will be released at Crush Fest and Pace said it’s unlike anything else offered.
“We typically don’t offer any sweet wines,” Pace said. “It’s very different than the typical wines on our menu. ... It’s a great summertime wine, really crisp and refreshing. It’s an off-dry rose, has notes of tropical citrus as well as apricot, so it’s an easy drinker made to appeal to pretty much everybody.”
The event won’t just offer wine. To make sure there is a beverage for everyone, Left Nut Brewing Co. will serve beer.
The event has grown each year and now draws around 5,000 guests, all looking forward to stomping grapes. They may not all get to taste it, but each guest who steps into the vat gets to see how wine used to be made.
“It’s just a neat experience to feel the grapes on your feet, take your socks off and stomp around,” Pace said. “That’s how they used to do it in the old days, so it’s neat to do that.”