By Laura Marrich
Remember that episode of "I Love Lucy" where Lucy stomps grapes ("Her feet—like two enormous pizzas!" observes the vintner) with a bunch of swarthy, unibrowed Italian women? It looked like fun, didn't it? If, like me, you've found yourself wondering what it'd be like to recreate some of that same purple-stained magic, your time has come. The St. Clair Winery and Bistro (near Old Town at 901 Rio Grande NW) is throwing a grand grape-stomping competition—and in the true bacchanalian spirit of a Roman orgy, it's raging for three days.
Thursday, July 19, through Saturday, July 21, teams of two will take turns squishing Syrah (or whatever the grape may be) with their bare feet. The team that produces the most amount of fluid wins ... and walks away with a free cruise for two to Mexico. Not too shabby for grape juice! If you feel up to the challenge, one $10 at-the-door registration is all it takes to enter (though both members must be at least 18).
Or, if you're just interested in watching the madness unfold, come out and spectate. $10 includes a souvenir wine glass, wine tastings, free food and live music. (Underage guests 18-20 are just $4, and teens and kids are free.) The event goes from 6 p.m. to close on Thursday and Friday, and 2 p.m. to close on Sunday.
Rob Sharp, Marketing Coordinator for New Mexico Wineries (which is also the parent group of St. Clair) says this is the first time the vineyard or its restaurant has tried its hand at a wine stomp, though the Southern New Mexico Festival has hosted them for the past few years.
"I guess it's fun if you're wearing some old clothes and don't mind staining your feet purple," he says from his office in Las Cruces, where St. Clair opened a second bistro a little more than a year ago. "And it starts to become a really good idea after a few glasses of wine!" I'll drink to that ... who'll join me?
Requiem for the Dragon
Weep, Albuquerque, for the Blue Dragon Coffeehouse has died. Frequent Blue Dragon performer Richard Krueger delivered the awful news to us just before going to press this week. He called it a "tremendous loss," and he's not alone in feeling that way. I know I do. (I’ve been a patron and was the Blue Dragon's kitchen manager for one scone-filled summer.)
According to a brief answering machine message, the coffee shop, natural bakery/pizzeria and all-ages venue for weirdo acoustic-folk, bluegrass, Tuvan throat singing and slam poetry was "indefinitely" shuttered after service on Thursday, July 12. Co-owner and longtime music coordinator Norm Everett was not available for comment at press time.
The Blue Dragon opened at Girard and Indian School on Mother's Day of 1999. Like many small businesses in New Mexico, the venue struggled through financial woes and changes in ownership. Unlike most other places, however, it never wavered in its ideology, shouldering a commitment to organic ingredients and underground art throughout its entire tenure. The Blue Dragon was a "good idea" that deserved much more applause than a posthumous sendoff in the Alibi. It just needed us. Something to remember the next time we feel the suction of a corporate drive-thru.
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