READY, SET, STOMP! HACIENDA DE LAS ROSAS WINERY CELEBRATES REOPENING

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By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Miriam Raftery and Kristin Kjaero

September 7, 2015 (Ramona) -- Members of the Hacienda de las Rosas Winery's wine club kicked up their heels on Labor Day at the winery's 8th annual grape stomp.  The occasion also marked the grand reopening of the winery, which was closed over the summer following the death last winter of winemaker William Holzhaur.

Today, however, was a day of festivities as guests stomped grapes, sipped wine, savored tacos and enjoyed horse-drawn carriage rides.  The event also included a silent auction and donations to benefit the Ramona Humane Society.

After four years of drought, crops this year are reduced across the Ramona Valley wine region, winery owner Tammy Rimes said. But that didn't hamper the festivities, as guests doffed shoes to partake in a centuries-old Italian-style winemaking tradition.

The stomping is just for fun, since no stomped grapes are used in actual vintages bottled. Rimes recalls the winery's first grape-stomp held in Old Town, where the couple once had a tasting room.

"It was William's idea to have a grape stomp," she recalled her late husband, "and he told me I could dress up as Lucy!"

The Lucy costume is long since retired, but  Rimes has carried on the tradition now enjoyed each year by winery club members savoring the fruits of the family's labors including some wonderfully rich red wines, each named after one of the prized Peruvian Paso horses that Rimes also raises here.

Meanwhile, the circle of life continues with today bringing joyous news to the family: a grandchild of Rimes and Holzhaur is expected to be born next year.

For more information on Hacienda de las Rosas Winery in Ramona, visit www.sdwinery.com.