Winery tours can teach you a lot about winemaking, including how grapes are processed after they’re harvested. Few wineries let you process the grapes yourself by stomping on them the way ancient winemakers traditionally did. This harvest season, Grgich Hills Estate in Napa Valley is allowing visitors to do just that — get down and dirty in a barrel of freshly picked grapes the same way Croatia-born winemaker emeritus Miljenko “Mike” Grgich did as a kid.

Grgich is not your average winemaker. During the 1976 Judgement of Paris, a historic blind tasting overseen by a panel of French judges, Napa’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay outscored some of the finest white Burgundies from France to claim the title of the best white wine of the whole tasting. Grgich crafted that wine, and a year after its momentous win, he set out to establish a winery of his own with vineyard-owner Austin Hills and his sister Mary Lee Strebl.


Photo: Kathryn Barnard

From September 2 to October 28, 2022, visitors to Grgich Hills Estate can add grape-stomping to their tasting experiences if they book through the Napa Valley Wine Train. Yes, that means living out your I Love Lucy fantasies of being ankle-deep in a barrel of grapes, as well as sampling the winery’s newest creations. But the experience also starts with an hour-long train ride to the winery through scenic Napa Valley, complete with a multi-course gourmet lunch, and ends with dessert and a coffee service on the journey back to downtown Napa.

Tickets for the Grape Stomping at Grgich Hills experience cost $400 per 21+ person. You can find more details and make your reservations through the Napa Valley Wine Train website here.