Crushers vie for top honors at Chandler winery - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Crushers vie for top honors at Chandler winery

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Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2007 6:40 pm | Updated: 7:18 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Scottsdale roommates Megan VanDerzee and Samantha Cornell don’t mind purple feet or sticky clothes.

Last year at an annual grape stomping event held at the Kokopelli Winery in Chandler, they crushed 3.53 pounds of juice in two minutes and won a cruise to Mexico.

“It was the longest two minutes ever,” says VanDerzee. “You have to keep stomping the whole time.”

This year they will pit their grape-stomping skills against dozens of other hopefuls at the sixth annual Kokopelli Krush.

The event started as a celebration of the grape harvest. It has grown into one of the winery’s most successful events — bringing in thousands of patrons and about a hundred teams to compete. (You can sign up to participate up to the day of the event, provided there are slots still open. It costs $15 to participate.)

“It’s turned into a pretty sizable event,” says Kokopelli owner Dennis Minchella. “It gets pretty crazy.”

During the Krush, teams compete to stomp the most juice in two minutes.

The top prize is a cruise. Table grapes are stomped instead of wine grapes and no one actually drinks the juice.

Kokopelli is the state’s largest winery, and grows 15 varietals, including merlot, cabernet, pinot noir and chardonnay.

The Kokopelli Krush is one of a dozen events the winery holds each year.

The goal of these events, says Minchella, is to take away the stuffy stigma of wine.

“We’re trying to make wine fun,” says Minchella. “We want to make it approachable. Not something you need to be intimidated by.”

VanDerzee and Cornell won’t reveal their strategy for winning the event. But they say they are confident they will win.

“It was a great experience,” says Cornell. “We are really enthusiastic about this year.”

Sixth Annual Kokopelli Krush

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday; 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; Sunday times open

Where: Kokopelli Winery, 35 W. Boston St., Chandler

Information: (480) 792-6927 or

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