Crushing grapes to make wine is one thing. Having grape stomping fun while contributing to stamp out hunger is another. Several Austinites patronized a custom winery (Water 2 Wine) and paid $5 or gave five food items for a bare-footed go in a barrel of red grapes. For an extra donation, they could have their chardonnay-colored feet prints on a store t-shirt for $10. Half of those t-shirt dollars and all of the grape stomping donations went to the Greater Austin Area Food Bank.
If grape stompers wanted to have their picture taken the picture could be made into a replacement label on a bottle of wine. $5 of that cost also went to the food bank.
A Canaan Wedding
The regular labels have 6 clay pots with water dripping from one pot and turning to wine as it gets closer to a wine glass. Owner John McFadden said the label icon comes from the biblical wedding at Canaan.
He said he also obtained the 9 year old store’s name from Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine. “It’s good enough for me, it was good enough for Him.”
Acts of Charity
“We are trying to give back to the community,” he said. He stated that each year they outperform their last year’s fund-raising goal. In 2010 they received a Food Drive Challenge Winner trophy. He said of all of their numerous trophies for the winery, the food drive trophy is the one of which he is most proud.
That’s encouraging, because the United Nations World Foods Program cites hunger as the number one health risk.
He recalls how during that first year Water 2 Wine combined efforts with a national AT&T food drive. That was a record-setting year.
This is the 4th year that Water 2 Wine have participated in the Help Stomp Out Hunger campaign.
Quiet as its been kept, red grapes produce white wine. So a darkened footprint it does not make. The burgundy colored die in a tub where people stood to get their feet bottom purple was really a mix of packaged dye.
A post-stomp, post-footprint making foot rinse was obtained by standing in a bucket of water. The next step was sitting down and drying off the feet to remove the remaining dye.
Young children, adults, the elderly and the daring all stepped into the barrel. In almost all cases, they also did the footprints on a store t-shirt.
K. Mack and Ferrell Grubbs took a shot at the stomp for charity. Mack’s moves were a type of smash and twirl. When it was over she said she also gained softer feet in the process. But her main goal was to help a worthy cause while having fun.
While stomping and squishing grapes in the barrel Ferrell was heard to yell, “We’re making wine.”
When it was my turn, (and I didn’t know I would have a turn until I was leaving and Ferrell offered to make a donation on my behalf), it was fun and engaging. I let myself go after I got over the chilly sensation. I squished grapes between my toes. I imitated Mack’s smash and twirl. I even did a little twist – not a Chubby Checker type one (because it’s slippery in there). I found the sensation a bit electrifying. The bottom portion, where most of the well-stomped grapes settled, was velvety soft.
The grapes yield to the feet very easily. The juice is somewhat thicker than I would have thought. My feet were softer after it was over. Perhaps it was the grape seed extract exposure.
Ferrell even sprung for a t-shirt. I stepped from the barrel of grapes into the tub of dye. My footprints were almost a burgundy blush shade, against the stark white of the t-shirt. Prints the color of communion “wine” on something the color of driven snow. My feet still bear remnant hues of my experience.
Stomping Out Hunger at the custom winery may be as close as I ever get to having my adults footprints recorded for posterity. I can tell you that things changed a lot since my blackened footmarks were made on my birth certificate in infancy.
I can add stomping grapes to my life experiences. I can scratch it off of my mental bucket list. I can also put off that pedicure for a while longer.