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Hot but Fun, Becker Grape Stomp Drew Crowds

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The wine, shopping and certainly the air conditioning all made the Becker tasting room as popular as the shaded patio outdoors this weekend at the annual Grape Stomp.

The tasting room at Becker Vineyards Saturday was full of visitors, tasting and shopping. It was the next-to-last day of the annual Grape Stomp at the Texas Hill Country winery, and outside the temperature hovered around 103 degrees. This didn't seem to bother those who wandered across a short stretch of grass outside, over to a canopy which provided a little shade if not protection from the heat. Here, they hopped into and out of wine half-barrels, squashing grapes, taking pictures and helping one another step out onto fresh, clean T-shirts.

Ashli P. enjoys some wine while daughter, Elli, gets into the grapes.

The shirts provided the canvas for purple footprints; a nearby clothesline was available for pinning the shirts up to dry. Kids liked it, college students loved it, parents stepped in and got their own feet purple. "We came out last year and loved it," said one Dallas couple, helping one another to wipe gooey grape off each other's feet. Nearby, a little girl in shorts and a pink top held a pose for a camera —and didn't find the mass of fruit between her toes at all disturbing. "Weekends have been pretty busy out here," said Becker employee Nichole Bendele. Judging by the uproar around the air-conditioned tasting room, the sampling was the biggest draw. For $10, one was able to purchase a large wine glass and get six tasting tickets to sample Becker wines. Where we were, demand was high for the crisp, cold Becker Provençal rosé, the Tempranillo, a medium-bodied Spanish varietal, the Reserve Cabernet and a crisp, aromatic Gewürztraminer. The highlight Sunday was the costume party, "Lucy and the Italian Woman." "Last year we had someone who got into the parking lot and started selling Lucy wigs," said Bendele, who will be keeping her eye out for such shenanigans this year.
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