EAST MANATEE -- As the sun beat down on them, a young boy and girl stomped dark grapes in a large tank. Zachariah Kersey, 7, and Sophia Johnson, 3, peered down as their bare feet squished the chunks of grape flesh in the water.
"You're so going to hate mommy when you're 18," said Zachariah's mother, Angel Kersey, as she captured the moment.
The 48-year-old Bradenton resident and others laughed. The children were encouraged to stomp harder.
It was a sweet sight Sunday afternoon during Harvest Festival 2015, held at the Rosa Fiorelli Winery & Vineyard, 4250 County Road 675. Sunday wrapped up what was "Pick for the Cause and Stomp for the Cure," a two-day event co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Though it was free, organizers asked for donations that would be given to the health organization.
The day included a tour of the vineyard and wine tastings. Inside a cool, dimly lit room on the property, Marcia Sugiarto brought out multiple bottles of Rosa Fiorelli wine for Danny Arcilla and his wife, Jan Arcilla, to taste. There were white muscadine wines and a white dessert wine -- and some red wines.
"Ooh I like this!" Danny Arcilla, 65, said after sipping what's called the "Conquistador" -- a blend of white muscadine wine with peach.
"I could drink this with pork," his 60-year-old wife pointed out after savoring the taste.
The Port Charlotte couple was gifted a tour of the Bradenton vineyard by their daughter for their 31st wed
"The wine tasting was wonderful," Jan said after several samples. "It was very good, very flavorful."
Though they're not diehard wine enthusiasts, the registered nurse said she and her husband love to drink wine with a nice dinner.
"One more sample and my wife will sing like a bird," her husband said with a smile.
As the afternoon wore on, more people trickled onto the vineyard and sat before Dave Vines, who spoke about the intricacies of the winemaking process and the unpredictable nature of grapes.
"Every year, our weather is different ... everything around us is constantly changing," he said, in reference to the diversity among vintage wines. "Every year, something is a constant changing factor, mainly weather."
After the talk, several attendees left with wine bottles in brown paper bags, including Jeff Swanson, 57, and his son Nick Swanson, 22. The father and son from Old Miakka in Sarasota County were driving in an old convertible when they saw a sign and stumbled into the festival.
"I'm not really, really well-natured in my wines, but I know enough to get by," Nick said.
Each bought a bottle of peach wine -- the elder Swanson for his wife and his son for his girlfriend.
"We're doing good on the romantic angle, maybe," Jeff said with a laugh. "Whether it pays dividends or not, that's to be determined."
Jeff, a roofing salesman, said he learned a few things about the winemaking process and grapes at Harvest Festival.
"I admire anything that can be raised as far as things like this in Florida 'cause it's a harsh environment," he said, "and it's cool."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.