There’s no need to worry about who is going to wear a face mask and other COVID-19 social precautions at this fruit-squashing event.

After much consideration, the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance (CWA) has decided to move their annual Grape Stomp event online.

The CWA was established in 1989 and remains a non-profit organization specializing in exhibiting awareness of wines throughout Calaveras County. The annual Grape Stomp competition has been held for 26 years, and will go on, despite the pandemic.

“The oldest and largest California Grape Stomp must go on during COVID-19 pandemic,” the CWA stated in a press release in August. “400 stomp teams will compete using Zoom online event services.”

Patrons supporting the event will be able to purchase kits to use in the luxury of their backyard.

“Each year we sell out of Grape Stomp team registrations at 120 maximum slots. With the virtual grape stomp we can open up to 400 stomp teams from the comfort of their backyards,” said CWA Executive Director Sandra Hess in the press release.

The kits (for teams of two) will include a grape stomp barrel, 25 pounds of grapes and measuring devices for each household. With the purchase, adult tasting passes will also be included. Costumes are encouraged for teams, as it will earn points with the judges.

Instructions will be included in the kits, and each team will have their chance to record their stomping and have it reviewed by the judges for official standing. The top 10 teams will be awarded prizes and “bragging rights,” according to the CWA press release.

Judging will be based on skill, spirit and style during the Zoom competition.

“We estimate that 75-100 teams will compete in the first of its kind Virtual Grape Stomp,” Hess told the Enterprise on Tuesday. “Aloria Vineyards has joined the program as our Grape Sponsor and Bear Valley has come on as our Title Sponsor. We are working on the online action and have been receiving good support from the business community”

“I’m glad that we can continue with the 27th Annual Calaveras Grape Stomp online as this annual fundraiser supports our high school scholarship program and community groups,” Hess said Tuesday.

To register a team of two or for more information, go to www.calaveraswines.org/grape-stomp, or email at info@calaveraswines.org.

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Holly has an associate's degree in anthropology and a bachelor’s degree in English, with an emphasis in creative writing. She has moved to the area from southern California and shares her life with a Siberian husky and three rescue cats.

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