Monday, February 20, 2012

Flame Hill Vineyard - It's Time to Stomp Some Grapes

I had heard wistful ramblings about the beauty of Flame Hill Vineyard in the mountains and the tempting idea of being allowed to jump up and down in a barrel of grapes. Grape STOMP Harvest Festival was finally here, and we were ready to experience our own slice of Europe on a hill.

I was going to jump in grapes to my heart’s content on one of the hinterland's highest mountain ridges, whilst staring out to sea. I know what you’re thinking - me, please, now!

Flame Hill Vineyard is sigh inducing gorgeous - perched high in the Mountains in Montville with guinea fowl roaming through the vines. There is something so perfect about sitting on hay bales drinking wine in the sunshine - the world just seems so complete.

We could have been in Tuscany wandering around the rows of grapes. What is it about a vineyard that just brings out the romantic in me? One day I just need a few vines in neat rows. A cellar full of award winning home grown wine shouldn't be too much to ask, really? Till then, I'll just come to Flame Hill and dream, while listening to jazz fill the vineyard..Summertime..wafting through the mountain air...

This isn't just any perfect lazy day in an idyllic vineyard, where all we will do is sip gorgeous wine and scoff gourmet farm produced food. This is an action, adventure day, with visits from the gods! The moment of expectation arrives to the sounds of contagious bongo beats. Stunning Greek Goddesses appear in a crate pushed by Tractor and begin the Grape STOMP ceremony with their beautiful tribal dance.

They mesmerize and share the magic of the harvest with their beaming smiles, mythical body paint & graceful jumping feet. The drumming of the awesome Human Rhythm performers, the theatrical spectacle of the wine nymphs dance..yes - Flame Hill Wine Stomp is a rather special event and we haven't even got to the unveiling of those barrels filled high with Shiraz grapes.

The finale sees each goddess show us how it's done, they climb into the grape filled barrels and gracefully sway their hips and stomp. I'm hoping by next festival, I have improved my stomping technique. It's not so easy to appear as graceful as the gods on such unsteady feet. Wide eyed children are invited first to share the stomping doesn't take long for every festival goer to get their STOMP on, find a barrel and start crushing grapes under their feet.

We stomped and squished and nearly lost our balance - have you ever tried grape stomping? It's messy and a riot especially after a couple of bottles at Flame Hill.

This is definitely a ritual worth joining in every year. You can even relive old Greek island partying - dress in a toga if you will. I did hear Caesar was dining in the restaurant, you never know who you will meet at Flame Hill. The Harvest festival includes live jazz all afternoon, the vineyards own eccentric entertaining mascots, including Raymondo - who you will have to wait to meet to understand.

There are lots of difficult choices to make at Grape STOMP Should you choose a gorgeous gourmet feast on the deck of the restaurant, grab a table under the marquis or lay out a blanket with a hay bale to lean on and settle in for a long afternoon?

I just wonder if there is any colour as decadent as crimson - at's the flavour of the day, in the wine, in the grapes.

There are 16 wines to choose from under the Flame Hill Label, their award winning varieties flourishing out of the volcanic soil of the vineyard's hills.

For some, I guess the day's festivities can get a bit much....

Surrounded by well dressed revellers, grape stained from the knee down - this was definitely a moment to remember. We can say we came, we saw, we stomped. You know it's a good evening when you are pulling stray bits of straw out of your clothing and washing grape stains off your feet.

Others may have to spend a little longer getting cleaned up.....

Don't miss the next Harvest to find your own tribal moves. It's amazing what a drum beat can do to your body, trust me - you may surprise yourself as you follow the goddesses in dance, jump in a barrel and then wander the grass with crimson feet.

Montville is in the Sunshine coast hinterland, it's a gem of a village that will have you wondering if you have flown overseas. It's a place so European and beautiful, surrounded by Australian rolling hills and stunning views just a short drive from the beauty of the coast.

The Cellar door at Flame Hill welcomes visitors for tastings, the vineyard restaurant , a stylish escape from reality as you enjoy fine dining with a sublime menu that embraces the produce of their own 250 acre farm. With all those wines to work your way through and such a spectacular view, I would plan to stay a while.

I'm heading there to enjoy a Sunday Brunch one day soon. We'll start with sparkling but you never know, we might end up lying on a rug in the vines with wine and cheese all afternoon. It's just that kind of setting - what's the rush?

You can find Flame Hill Vineyard at 249 Western Avenue in Montville in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast.

For restaurant bookings, Flame Hill Stomp 2013 enquiries or to order a gourmet picnic basket call the vineyard on (07) 5478 5920

Lunch at the Vineyard & Wine Tasting's at the Cellar Door from Thursday to Monday

Don't forget Sunday brunch!
To find more details and the date of STOMP Harvest Festival 2013 visit the Flame Hill Website here...

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