October 7th 2023 marked the 30th Annual Calaveras Grape Stomp at Murphys Community Park. Since 1993, teams from all over the United States have gathered in Murphys Park on the first Saturday of October to compete for the bragging rights to call themselves Grape Stomp Champions.
This year brought teams from as far as New York, Tennessee, and Florida to this coveted event. The Calaveras Grape Stomp and Auction is a community event which benefits local organizations and the CWA’s high school scholarship program. Matt and Valerie Hatcher, Scott Hancock, and the rest of the crew at Hatcher Winery and School Street Wines, Scott Klann of Newsome Harlow Wines and Ten by Ten Wines, Joey Brown, Carrie Nelson, Ron Dwelley, Bret Harte Athletics, Oakendell Community School and many more volunteers spend countless hours helping the CWA prepare and host the competition.
This year was bittersweet as we celebrated the 30th Annual event but the first without MC Doug Brown. We honored Doug’s 29-year commitment to the Grape Stomp and many more years supporting the community with a plaque and $500 donation in Doug’s name to a charity of the family’s choosing. Doug’s wife and our auction MC, Joey, and their kids Jason and Michelle chose AMA Youth Sports to receive this donation. Scott Klann took over the MC duties this year and vowed to keep Doug’s spirit alive for years to come. Scott’s infectious energy kept the day moving smoothly as 110 teams stomped their way for a chance to compete in the semi-finals and finals.
A highlight each year is the Winery Heat for the highly desired President’s Cup which will be renamed in honor of Doug Brown. The ten teams (pictured from left to right) were Cork Fungus sponsored by Gossamer Cellars, The MacMashers sponsored by Black Sheep Winery, Hatcher Winery sponsored by Hatcher Winery, Stevenot Stompers sponsored by Stevenot Winery, School Street sponsored by Hatcher Winery, The Ron Burgundys sponsored by Ironstone Vineyards, Tanner Tannins sponsored by Tanner Winery, NH Drama Queens sponsored by Newsome Harlow, Latin Flair sponsored by Bodega Del Sur, and VICTORY FROM DaFEET sponsored by Brice Station Vineyards. It was a battle to the finish but in the end Scott and Tammy of School Street beat out Hatcher Winery by 0.35 pounds of juice, taking home the President’s Cup for the second year in a row.
Hall of Fame Inductees
Each year Members of the Calaveras Grape Stomp Hall of Fame all serve on the Hall of Fame Committee, which is charged with nominating and selecting new members to the Hall of Fame as it deems appropriate. The Calaveras Grape Stomp Hall of Fame was established in 2013 to recognize those Grape Stomp teams and Grape Stomp Volunteers who have, by their dedication and commitment to the Grape Stomp, demonstrated outstanding service and performance.
This year’s entry for outstanding performance went to a team that has a stage presence like no other and have dedicated the last ten years to honing their craft. After another top ten performance last year, this team has moved up to seventh on the All-Time list and fifth among active teams. When they are not on the Grape Stomp stage you can also find them in the Murphys Irish Day parade, as they say, “we keep mucking and we keep trucking”. For their outstanding performance as a team, their unfailing good sportsmanship, and great trucking attitudes, the Hall of Fame gladly welcomes the team Mucker Truckers, Chris Lusardi and Brett Nocentini, to the Grape Stomp Hall of Fame.
There are no words to describe the entry for outstanding service. This individual has gone above and beyond each year to make the next Grape Stomp better than the last and even though it is his busiest time of the year, you can always count on his dedication to the Grape Stomp and our community. There would be no Grape Stomp without this individual’s help. For his consistently outstanding service on behalf of the Calaveras Grape Stomp, his leadership, judgement, and dedication, the Grape Stomp Hall of Fame is honored to welcome Matt Hatcher, the Backbone of the Grape Stomp, into the Grape Stomp Hall of Fame.
Stomp teams are encouraged to come in costume for the Costume Contest which is voted on by the crowd. A clear favorite from the moment they stepped on the stomp stage was The Ron Burgundys. Kenneth and Liam brushed their mustaches and put on their best burgundy suit as they competed for Ironstone Vineyards during the Winery Heat. Close runner ups in the contest were a group of Barbies, Astronauts and Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.
And The Winner Is…
The two semi-final heats brought out the closest competition with just 0.02 pounds of juice separating the top two teams. At the end of the day, Matt and Valerie with Hatcher Winery dominated the final heat with 11.04 pounds walking away as our 2023 Grape Stomp Champions! They were followed by the Dwelley Devastators Team 1 with 9.6 pounds and the Tannin Bombs with 9.57 pounds. You can find the complete list of results HERE.
Thank You To Our Sponsors and Supporters
Mark Twain Medical Center/Dignity Health, Calaveras Visitors Bureau, Copper Valley, Bank of Stockton, Sierra Family Wealth, Bear Valley Resort, Lyman Vineyard Management Gateway Press, Gold Electric, Sierra Hills & Angels Food Markets, Fox Security, Murphys Suites, Cal Waste, Central State Credit Union, and Jackson Rancheria.
This year's Grape Stomp Auction included Ali's Eats, Bear Valley Adventure Company, Bear Valley Resort, Books On Main, Boyle MacDonald Wines, Brice Station Vineyards, Camps Restaurant, Frog's Tooth Vineyard, The Gateway Hotel, Gay Callan and Chatom Vineyards, The Golf Club at Copper Valley, Gossamer Cellars, Hatcher Winery, Ironstone Vineyards, Jazz Cellars, Marisolios, Murphys Grade, Murphys Hotel, Murphys Old School House VRBO/Jordan Oaks Vineyards, Murphys Suites, Murphys Vacation Homes, New Melones Lake Marina, OARS, Aloxxi, Sierra Hills Market, Sierra Nevada Adventure Company, The Spice Tin, Tanner Vineyards, and The Victoria Inn and Dunbar House Inn.