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Have a stompin’ grape time at annual Crush Fest
Wine tastings, food, music and purple feet on tap at Yonah Mountain vineyard
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Janice Harris from Boston, right, and her daughter Julie Colton from Smyrna enjoy crushing grapes for their second year in a row at the 2017 Crush Fest at Yonah Mountain Vineyards.

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.”

Crush Fest

When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25

Where: Yonah Mountain Vineyards, 1717 Ga. 255 S., Cleveland

How much: $40 for entrance, wine tasting and souvenir wineglass; $25 for general admission; free for children 16 and under. Buy tickets

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.”

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Norcross resident Todd Cohen, right, tastes honey from Honey on the Hill owners Anna and Dale Fisher during the 2017 Crush Fest at Yonah Mountain Vineyards. - photo by Kayla Elder

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.

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KAYLA ELDER | The Times Jared Kirschner of Roswell helps his son Davis stomp grapes Sept. 2 at Crush Fest.
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.”

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Yonah Mountain Vineyards owner Jane Miller, left, and members of the Atlanta Falcons Drumline play music Sept. 2, 2017, as guests crush grapes barefoot at Crush Fest. - photo by Kayla Elder
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