Here’s a bit about our history, how we arrived at making wine and how we chose our name, Stomping Girl.
Childhood memories of my maternal grandmother are forever imprinted on my brain with vivid memories of grapes growing on pergolas and winemaking.
My grandmother, Esther, had Muscat grape vines growing on her property. Muscat is renowned for the heady aromatics they emit, perfumes of orange blossoms and honey suckle are common words used to describe these aromas.
Every year, at the end of summer/beginning of fall, my grandmother would make an incredibly delicious, sweet wine out of these grapes. It would typically be ready to drink the following April, just in time for Passover. At Passover you are obliged to drink four glasses of wine! As young kids, we of course were not allowed to drink a full glass of wine, let alone four of them. However, taking 4 small sips was more than enough to impart this golden, delicious, wonderfully aromatic magical liquid into our minds forever.
The way my grandmother made this wine was the epitome of hand-made, foot-stomped artisanal wine.
My sister Michal (pronounced Mee – hall,) a few years younger than me, would have her feet washed and then step into a barrel full of grapes and get to ‘work’ crushing and turning the grapes into juice. Michal recalls being put to ‘work’ starting at age 6. 30 years later, my sister’s most vivid memory is that of the hot water coming out of the garden hose to rinse her feet aferward. On hot days in Israel, water in a garden hose could practically come to a boil.
The grape juice would then be left alone to ferment naturally. Carboys and barrels were always around bubbling as the juice was fermenting and turning into wine.
In the mid seventies, part of my family moved to France. That started another tradition–visiting as often as we could.
The family in France is divided between Paris, Nevers in Burgundy and now Champagne. On our visits, we often take the A77 from Paris to Nevers for a brisk two hours at which point we would hop off at Sancerre and then take the scenic route thru Poilly-sur-Loir to Nevers, sampling the lovely, crisp wines of those villages. After family time in Nevers, we would continue east to wine taste at the great domains of Burgundy.
It was during these trips, this particular route, in fact, that ultimately led us to our real passion and to start this all-consuming ‘hobby’. Visiting some of the smallest domains, where many families have been making great burgundies for generations was, and still is, the highlight of all of these visits.
Seeing the small vineyards, being able to talk to the humble farmers and winemakers in person, listening to them talk about their labor of love and tasting the wonderful results led us to believe that, somehow, we can do it ourselves too. We don’t need a big chateau or estate in Napa or Sonoma, we will start small, like my grandmother did and just make wine for ours and our friends’ enjoyment.
So in 2003 that is what we did, we got a hundred pounds of grapes and made some wine in our basement. Every year we doubled production until we ran out of space. In 2008 we moved to a real winery to make a commercial endeavor out of it. And, we needed a name.
As we looked back on our history, it took all of 10 minutes to come up with Stomping Girl–in honor of my grandmother, my sister and our modern day “Stomping Girls” — the wife and daughters who continue stomping grapes. And sorting and punching and pressing. We still can’t remember who came up with it first. It was one of those moments where we were thinking it at the same time and verbalized it together. And it stuck. So here we are, getting ready to release our inaugural commercial vintage of Stomping Girl.
Modern Day Stomping Girls: