Grape Stomping at the Brotherhood Winery

By Journalist Ms. Jones

WASHINGTONVILLE – Remember the episode on “I Love Lucy” where Lucy stomps grapes? Well, that’s what people did on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Brotherhood Winery in celebration of the grape harvest.

Don’t worry if you missed it. Brotherhood Winery, America’s oldest winery, is having Grape Stomping Competitions every Saturday and Sunday through October 8. You still have time to roll up your pants and have a great time!

Stomping the grapes at Brotherhood Winery.

“It’s a lot of fun. We’ve been doing this for… years,” said Van Ritshie, DJ for the Grape Stomping Competition who plays for WALL Radio’s morning show in Middletown.

“Anybody is eligible to sign up who’s here… We do three people [at a time]. We do it every half an hour… They [the staff] fill the barrels with grapes. [People] take their shoes off… People get in. I play a song. When the music stops, whoever makes the most juice wins a bottle of wine… We measure it with a yardstick,” said Ritshie.

If you were wondering… the “grape juice” does not go in the wine you purchase, so do not be alarmed.

“Oh, that gets thrown away,” laughed Ritshie. “It’s all [wine making] done by machine.”

Gabrana Tamzrian, Cristina Tamzrian, and Jena Bullis competed against each other to the tune “Feeling Hot Hot Hot” as the crowd got out of their seats to cheer them on. Upon measuring the “grape juice” of all contestants, Bullis was declared the winner and was given a bottle of New York Rosé wine labeled “Great Grape Stomper” by Brotherhood Winery.

“I am going to enjoy [this] tonight with my husband… We saw a sign inside. we were intrigued. We asked about it, but we couldn’t get on the next one because we were doing a tasting. So, we said, oh well, maybe another day. But he [the DJ] had… asked for a single. I said, ‘That’s a sign. I gotta jump on this,’” said Bullis, whose shoes were already off when the DJ asked for one more person. “I was kinda ready.”

Bullis and her husband Scott were there celebrating their second wedding anniversary.

Even the people who didn’t win had a wonderful time.

“It’s sort of fun because you still could win a cup. So, you’re not really left out. I like how it felt like you were squishing some kind of eyeballs or guts,” said Gabrana Tamzrian, the kid that competed against two adults.

The “Bride Tribe” came all the way from Philly to go Grape Stomping.

One of those adults was her mom.

“It was really fun. It was awesome, especially while you are doing it to the music. You get your little groove on,” said Cristina Tamzrian who plans to put the experience on Instagram and Facebook. Her favorite part was watching her daughter stomp the grapes.

The “Bride Tribe” came all the way from Philly to go Grape Stomping.

“That’s why Pat told me to get a pedicure,” said the bride-to-be who wasn’t quite sure of the entire agenda on her girls’ trip. Brotherhood Winery also offers tours of their underground museum, wine tasting, and has a restaurant and banquet hall for weddings. For more information, visit

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