2023 Calaveras County Grape Stomp Competition

It’s the grape harvest season in California, and along with it comes activities like grape stomping and of course, wine tasting. But did you know that California’s oldest and largest grape stomping event isn’t in Napa, Sonoma or even Mendocino. And no, it’s not held in other leading wine regions like Santa Barbara, Paso Robles …

2023 Calaveras County Grape Stomp Competition Read More »

Calaveras County grape stomp competion

It’s the grape harvest season in California, and along with it comes activities like grape stomping and of course, wine tasting. But did you know that California’s oldest and largest grape stomping event isn’t in Napa, Sonoma or even Mendocino. And no, it’s not held in other leading wine regions like Santa Barbara, Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo. Instead, the largest is further east into the Gold Country in Calaveras County. What’s more, it’s happening next weekend, allowing you just enough time to make plans to attend this year’s Calaveras Grape Stomp on October 7 in Murphys.

About the 2023 Calaveras Grape Stomp

Murphys Community Park
505 Algiers St.
Murphys, CA  95247
(209) 728-9467

Date: Saturday, October 7, 2023
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Calaveras Grape Stomp is a grape stomping competition and fundraiser benefiting the local community. Now in its 30th year, the lively competition is led  by the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance, a nonprofit representing the Calaveras County wine industry. Within this breathtaking region in the Sierra Foothills are over 35 wineries and over two dozen tasting rooms just in historic Murphys. For example, among the notable wineries are Ironstone Vineyards, Vina Moda Vineyards and Jeff Runquist Wines, the 2023 Golden State Winery of the Year at the California State Fair. Other wineries for you to consider are Hatcher Winery, Newsome Harlow, Indian Rock and Stevenot. The Calaveras Grape Stomp is held in conjunction with the annual Gold Rush Street Faire.

The Competition

This year, the Calaveras Grape Stomp competition will feature 120 teams of two contestants who will compete for cash prizes. Each team will have a “stomper” and a “mucker”, who helps extract as much grape juice as possible. In further detail, each stomper will have to stomp 25 pounds of grapes in a wine barrel over three minutes. Grape stomping competitions are held ever half hour with the winning team moving on in a bracket-style format. In case you go, the peak highlight is the final competition at 4 p.m., with prizes and cash awards given to the first, second and third place teams.

Additional Highlights

Of the 120 grape stomping teams, many will be representing Calaveras County’s top wineries, along with other visiting competitors. Indeed, when you go, you can expect many of these competitors dressed in costume, along with several color wigs. In fact, there will be a team costume contest for the best and most original costumes. Complimenting the competition are both live and silent auctions and of course, wine tasting of the best that the Calaveras Wine Country can offer.

About the 2023 Murphys Gold Rush Street Faire

Downtown Murphys
Murphys, CA  95247

Date: Saturday, October 7, 2023
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m

The Gold Rush Street Fair in historic downtown Murphys coincides with the Calaveras Grape Stomp a short walk away. Celebrating its 31st year, the event is presented by the Feeney Park Foundation, a local non-profit organization that operates its namesake park. The event is held right on historic Main Street, known for its tasting rooms, boutique shops and 19th century buildings. This year, the Gold Rush Street Fair is featuring approximately 100 vendors, selling food and arts and crafts. Of course, there will be plenty of regional wines for you to purchase as well. In addition, there will be family friendly activities and live music.

Related: Top Attractions in Calaveras County

How to Get to Murphys in Calaveras County

From San Francisco Bay Area

If you’re coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, your best route is CA Highway 4, which begins in Hercules, in Contra Costa County. From San Francisco or Oakland, you can take Interstate 80 to connect to Highway 4. From the North Bay, take Interstate 580 to Interstate 80, before you reach Highway 4. From cities in the East Bay or South Bay, you can also connect to Highway 4 via Interstate 680 or Interstate 880 to Interstate 80. Once on Highway 4, simply stay on this highway until you reach the town of Murphys. Depending upon your starting point, the drive will take two to three hours on average.

Related: Sonoma County Wineries to Visit This Fall

Sacramento Area

If you’re starting in Sacramento, you have a couple of options to get to Murphys. For one, you can take CA Highway 99 southward to connect to CA Highway 12. Highway 12 will then connect you to Highway 49, which travels through Angels Camp before reaching Murphys. For another option, take CA Highway 50 east to CA Highway 16 from Sacramento. Once on Highway 16, you can connect to Highway 49 just north of Amador. This route passes through the historic communities of Sutter Creek and Jackson in Amador County then San Andreas and Angels Camp in Calaveras County. Both routes to Murphys from Sacramento will take you about two hours.

Fresno, Merced, Modesto Area

The most straightforward route for you to take from these Central California cities is via CA Highway 99 North to Highway 4 East. However, if you use a navigational app, you might have to travel along rural roads, in order to make your connection to Highway 4. Another route for you to consider is CA Highway 99 North to Merced, then rural roads that pass through historic Jamestown and Sonora in Tuolumne County.

Related: Visit Merced, the Gateway to Yosemite

Where to Stay in Murphys, California

If you plan to stay overnight after attending the Grape Stomp, you should book reservations right away. That’s because there will be a peak demand for lodging not only in Murphys, but other towns in Calaveras County. In the event you’re having trouble finding overnight accommodations in town, you should also consider Angels Camp, about 10 minutes south on CA Highway 4. As the only incorporated city in Calaveras County, it has several additional dining and lodging options. Angels Camp is most famous for hosting the annual Frog Jumping Jubilee at the County Fairgrounds.

Courtwood Inn

2081 Ponderosa Way
Murphys, CA  95247
(209) 728-8686

The Courtwood Inn not only has a perfect rating on TripAdvisor, it also has a perfect rating through Google Reviews. That in itself, should be enough to convince you that this is an excellent property for you to consider. On the other hand, it’s the furthest from town among these five notable places to stay. However, the first thing to remember is that it’s less than two miles from downtown and it offers stylish rooms and furnishings. Moreover, it’s one of the newest local B&Bs and even has two tennis courts onsite. In addition to tennis, other amenities you can enjoy are Wi-Fi, all day beverage bar and spacious rooms. That’s not to mention it’s pet friendly and provides some of the grandest views of the California Gold Country. In a nutshell, it’s well worth a stay and especially for the Calaveras Grape Stomp and Gold Rush Street Faire.

Dunbar House Inn

271 Jones St.
Murphys, CA  95247
(209) 728-2897

Just a short walk from Main Street, Dunbar House Inn is likely your top choice if you like bed and breakfast inns. After all, it’s TripAdvisor’s top-rated B&B in Murphys and boasts a perfect rating. On the other hand, due to its rating, this charming B&B may already be sold out for the Calaveras Grape Stomping event. What’s more, you would have to book at least two nights, as there is a minimum for weekends, holidays and special events. However, if you’re lucky enough to book one of these lovely rooms, you’re bound to have an excellent stay.

Murphys Suites

134 Hwy. 4
Murphys, CA  95247
(209) 728-2121

Located right on CA Highway 4, Murphys Suites is a two-star property yet offering modern conveniences. For instance, you have free parking, a kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave and TV that not all B&B will furnish. In addition, there is a seasonal pool and spa onsite and you can enjoy breakfast each morning. It’s also important to realize that there are 70 rooms here, making your chances of booking reservations that much better. Just north of Feeney Park, it’s about a 15-minute walk to the heart of historic downtown Murphys. Built in 2001, Murphys Suites has had celebrity guests like the Doobie Brothers, Willie Nelson, B.B. King and Keb Mo.

The Murphys Historic Hotel

457 Main St.
Murphys, CA  95247
(209) 728-3444

The most famous of all lodging in Murphys is the Murphys Historical Hotel. In fact, it’s one of the oldest operating hotels in California and a National Historic Landmark. That’s not to mention it’s been host to famous guests like Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony, JP Morgan and President Ulysses Grant. Even iconic actor John Wayne has stayed here at one time. On the other hand, there have been reports that there is a ghost that lurks among the living here. Whether or not you believe in the paranormal, it offers comfortable rooms and right on Main Street. Of course, there’s also a popular bar and restaurant on the street level.

Victoria Inn & V Vacation Rentals

402 Main St. Ste. H
Murphys, CA  95247
(209) 728-8933

Surprisingly enough, Victoria Inn is TripAdvisor’s top lodging in Murphys but third among B&Bs. Be that as it may, this beautiful yet rustic B&B should be on your radar, whether it’s for the Calaveras Grape Stomp or any other occasion. That’s because not only are there several rooms to consider but also several vacation rentals, including a cottage and an airstream. If that’s not enough, there is an excellent restaurant and bar onsite. While you will have the convenience of complimentary wireless and gourmet breakfast, please know that there are no TVs in any of the rooms.

Related: Five Top Places to Stay in Paso Robles

About the Author

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 stories still appear in syndication across over 20 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012. Randy has nearly 25 years of experience in the transportation industry.