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Try Your Hand…or Feet at Grape Stomping at the Iowa State Fair

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Grape Stomping at the Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa State Fair wraps up on Sunday, but there’s still plenty of time to explore the different events taking place all across the fairgrounds – like the grape stomping competition.

It happens every day this week at the Grandfather’s Farm area of the fair, where you can also sample local wines and learn about Iowa’s wine industry. Teams line up to stomp as many grapes in a bucket as fast as they can, while the “mucker” on the team focuses on keeping the bucket’s drain clean so as much juice as possible can pour into the team’s pail. The top teams get their name on the board…but don’t worry if you’re stomping skills aren’t too sharp: everyone gets a ribbon.

“It’s part of our community,” said Claire Mattan of Johnston. “It’s part of our agricultural background.” Mattan and her family won their round of the grape stomping competition, with 11.5 centimeters of juice. She says her family has been coming to the Iowa State Fair for 11 years, now.

Organizers of the grape stomping competition say it’s a great way to educate Iowans about the wine industry here; there are 101 wineries across the state, and grapes are a popular crop in areas where the soil isn’t suitable for corn or soybeans. While the grape stomping exercise educates participants on how wine is made, organizers say the grapes used are too ripe and are just demonstrative.

You can test out your stomping skills at the Grandfather’s Farm location every day this week at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m.