The Indiana Insider Blog

Grape Stompers Lineup for the Swiss Wine Festival

I’ve been asked to be a celebrity grape stomper at the Swiss Wine Festival in Vevay, IN by my friend, Kendal Miller, PR coordinator of Switzerland County Tourism.

The competition begins at 11:00 am on Saturday, August 29 right there in Vevay (pronounced “VEE-vee.” Don’t ask). If you’re going to be in the area, swing by and cheer me on. If you’re one of the competitors, well, this is one celebrity weekly newspaper humor columnist/blogger who plans on bringing home the bacon grapeskins for his home state.

So nyah!
According to the Switzerland County Tourism office,

We have 20 stompers signed up for the “First Annual Media Celebrity Grape Stomp for Charity” for Sat. Aug. 29 at noon.

Four stompers will go on the stomping stage at a time, so we’ll have five full rounds. (Marianne Holland of WFYI had to back out last week, so one round will have three stompers.)

Although everyone is your competitor when you’re stomping for your favorite charity, I have prepared the stomping order so you’ll know who will be the three other stompers beside you in your round. Also, we almost had 10/10 split with male and female competitors, but the men have two up on the women.

As far as the stomp, I have been told that your size or weight have nothing to do with how much juice you squeeze out of your grapes. It’s more the technique while your feet are in the barrel that makes the difference. The more your feet “work” the grapes, the more juice you’ll get out of them. Just a little “tip” from a seasoned stomper. The top three stompers that get the most juice out of their wooden wine barrels (with the help of your swabber that will be provided) are the prize winners.

Each round will be two minutes long. That doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re putting forth your best efforts, it may feel longer than you think!

2009 Celebrity Grape Stomp Stomping Order

Round One:
Tara Pachmayer (Cincy), Erik Deckers (Indy), Julie Tam (Louie), Tom Davis (Indy)

Round Two:
Carissa Lawson (Louie), Brad Underwood (Cincy), Jen Dalton (Cincy), Paul Poteet (Indy)

Round Three:
Sara Denhart (Madison), Michael Wigren (Vevay), Taylor Bennett (Indy), Tony Mirones (Cincy)

Round Four:
Jim Simmons (Indy), Elizabeth J. Musgrave (Indy), Richard Graham (Indy)

Round Five:
Kate Shepard (Indy), Aric Harvig (Indy), Andy Ferguson (Vevay), Joe Ulery (Indy)

I have been warned that Julie Tam is a ballet dancer, and is fast on her feet. However, female ballet dancers perform on their toes, thus reducing her total surface area, and giving me and my size 10.5s a nice advantage. Tara and Tom are unknown quantities (although since we’re both from Indy, I feel bad that I don’t even know who Tom is).

Paul Poteet, on the other hand, is a Twitter buddy, yet he will not return an email I sent him inviting him for coffee, so I may just have to cheer for Jen Dalton (whom I have never emailed for coffee, and thus, have never been turned down by).

Andy Ferguson of Vevay is going to be a hometown favorite, and thus may have an. . . advantage. I’ll be watching for any signs of barrel stuffing going on.

I don’t know anything about the rest of these people, although I met Marianne Holland once, and now that she’s out, I won’t know anyone there (if you happen to show up, please introduce yourself to me and say hi). So, like any good over-the-hill athlete, I am going to be totally overconfident and not prepare or train one whit for this, and hope that the minimal amount of research I have done for this will propel me over the top.

See you at the bottom of the barrel.

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Written by : is a professional blogger and social media consultant. He is also a humor columnist in several weekly papers around Indiana, and on his own blog at ErikDeckers.com. A supporter of the local arts scene, Erik is a rabid fan of the Indy Fringe Theatre Festival in the summer. Erik is married and a father of three, and a Ball State alum. Erik receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development — and a warm fuzzy feeling — for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.