By Mike Keenan
September is that time of year when wine aficionados tend to stomp their way into merriment. What could be more pleasurable than to take off your shoes and socks and crush a bunch of grapes freshly picked from one of hundreds of Niagara wineries?
As an aside, I mention the fact that I was recently in Gatineau and a sommelier there in a local restaurant was absolutely a huge fan of Niagara wineries.
Back here in Niagara where we lure tourists with our fermented grapes, Brock University has seen fit to give the grape industry its academic sine qua non backing through its annual “Grape Stomp” held this past Friday in the appropriately named Jubilee Court.
Brock takes pride in calling it the messiest event on the Brock University calendar, far more chaotic than the student state of mind when faced with nasty tests, quizzes and exams.
At The Homecoming Grape Stomp, teams of students competed for prizes by dressing up in costumes and stomping away on a metric tonne of Concord grapes. And as you can readily determine from looking at the photograph, these earnest students take this challenge as a true test, something they can add to the CV, so much so that the experience creates myriad chuckles, smiles and friendly rejoinders. In professional football, there is a penalty for taunting the opponent, but at the grape stomp, it’s encouraged.
The numbers involved are inspiring. Around 700 Brock students took part in the messy tradition, which has been ranked No. 2 out of the top Canadian university traditions by University Affairs Magazine. What was #1?
At the University of British Columbia, over nearly four decades, tens of thousands of UBC students have competed in a “Storm the Wall” event that features a series of on-campus races (swimming, cycling and running) and culminates with the scaling of a 3.7-metre wall. The event this year attracted 3,500 student participants on more than 800 teams. I guess Brock will simply have to try harder. Or they might combine their stomp the grape scenario with a wall storm.
The Grape Stomp event did feature live music and a free barbecue, so that’s a start! Seriously, what could be more fun than to dye one’s white clothes purple by squishing, tossing and sliding on a metric tonne of Concord grapes? And then writing home to tell mom and dad?
This popular Brock event helps to kick off Brock’s Homecoming weekend Sept. 21 to 23!
If you have suggestions or comments concerning blog topics to help celebrate St. Catharines, contact me at ‒ firstname.lastname@example.org