Ready for grape harvest season? Part of the fun is stomping the grapes. Head to St. Josef's Winery in Canby Sept. 22 and 23 to participate!

For The Review, Tidings

St. Josef's Winery will celebrate its 36th annual Grapestomping Festival Sept. 22 and 23.

As one of Oregon's wine pioneers, St. Josef's established this iconic harvest festival in 1983 when there were fewer than 24 wineries in Oregon; now there are over 600. The festival dates back to before the first micro-breweries arrived in Oregon and is the Northwest's original Grapestomping event.

The Grapestomping tradition in Oregon began as proprietors Josef and Lilli Fleischmann, who emigrated from Germany, wanted to pass on a little bit of the harvest spirit to the burgeoning wine community. Because working a vineyard and running a winery are hard work, they believed it was important to mark the beginning of "crush" season with a casual European-style event with music, local foods and, of course, stomping of the grapes. Today the Grapestomping barrel has expanded to a 1,200-gallon oak barrel that holds the equivalent of 20,000 glasses of wine. Grapestomping occurs throughout the festival.

As part of the festivities German music will be performed by the Famous Z Musikmakers from 1 to 5 p.m. both days. Food offered includes St. Josef's special house recipe of German sausages and sauerkraut and other locally made foods. Gluten free foods will be available.

New vintages and special reserve wines are available by the glass, and tours with the winemaker and tastings occur throughout the day. The event also features all current wine releases and selections of reserve wines and sparkling wines, including the latest releases of award-winning Lilli sparkling wines, St. Josef's Chardonnay and Kitara Syrah. Beer, soda and water will also be available. Special case discounts for new releases and library reserve wines will be offered.

The event runs from noon to 6 p.m. both days at the winery, located at 28836 S. Barlow Road, Canby. Admission is $10 for those over 21 and includes a souvenir wineglass. Children are welcome with adult supervision; pets, outside food and beverages are prohibited.

The winery is currently celebrating the 40th anniversary of the planting of the first vines. St. Josef's is family owned and operated with three generations involved in the winery, vineyards and farm. The family farm continues to produce organic vegetables sold in local markets, and the 40 acres of estate vineyards have recently been awarded a "salmon safe" and "live" designation, and are tended without the use of irrigation, harsh chemicals or pesticides.

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