Attendees use their feet to crush wine grapes during last year’s Solvang Stomp.
Attendees use their feet to crush wine grapes during last year’s Solvang Stomp. The Solvang City Council has selected a new organizer for the 2nd annual event. (Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau photo)

A relatively new wine-themed event in Solvang will take place in October but with a new organizer.

Following what Interim City Attorney Chip Wullbrandt called “very pleasant contract negotiations,” Visit Santa Ynez Valley agreed to assume responsibility for putting on the Solvang Stomp. 

On Monday night, the City Council voted 4-0 to give Visit SYV the seed money to take over planning of the Solvang Stomp, launched last year by the Solvang Conference and Visitor Bureau. 

Mayor Ryan Toussaint abstained from discussions and voting on the matter due to a business relationship with Visit SYV.

The Oct. 19 event serves as a wine harvest street festival in downtown Solvang.

Visit SYV will receive at least $50,000 in seed money, but the agreement requires that any profits generated by the event be returned to the city.

“Potentially, the city could actually get all of its seed money investment back. Potentially, it could get more than its seed money back,” Wullbrandt said.

The contract will allow Visit SYV to use funds from ticket sales to pay for additional expenses, Wullbrandt said, in a bid to keep the city’s costs at $50,000.

Shelby Sim from Visit SYV said the nonprofit organization is not looking to make money off Solvang Stomp, which he called the premier part of a four-day, six-town food and wine event. 

“We’re looking to bring heads in beds. We’re’ looking to bring people to the Santa Ynez Valley, so it is not our goal to make money on this event. It is our goal to bring people to this event,” Sim said.

He added that the group may need up to $15,000 in additional funds if the SCVB doesn’t turn over Stomp-related props from last year’s event. 

Solvang Stomp offers visitors the chance to stomp wine grapes and get samples from 25 wineries while purchasing items to eat from a gourmet pizza oven and popular food trucks. 

People also can participate in a Lucy and Ricky Ricardo look-alike contest, plus enjoy live music at the event from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 on First Street in Solvang.

Guests will receive a logo wine glass and foot towel plus a ticket to win festive wine-related prizes.

General admission tickets cost $75 while VIP Stomper tickets for $125 provide early wine tasting at 1 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.

The SCVB launched the inaugural Solvang Stomp in 2018, and began promoting the this year’s event several months ago.

In a battle with the city after the council abruptly canceled the contract and funding for the SCVB, the visitor’s group laid off staff, putting its events such as the Solvang Stomp in jeopardy. 

Wullbrandt said the SCVB board agreed to relinquish any interest in the event, at least for this year.

“My understanding is that we didn’t license that to anybody, and I want to make it clear the city essentially owns the opportunity, right? Or am I mistaken in understanding that?” Councilman Chris Djernaes asked. 

“I can tell you that I have spent an unusually large amount of time on these various contract issues. I have not extensively researched all of the things that are not apparently in conflict, and at least right now this seems to be one that is not apparently in conflict,” Wullbrandt said. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.