Mourning elephants keep busy stomping grapes

Mourning elephants keep busy stomping grapes »Play Video

WINSTON, Ore. -- The Wildlife Safari is teaming up with a local winery for the first ever Elephant Grape Stomp.

Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards will host an evening of events at the elephant barn, which includes George and Alice stomping grapes for wine.

The owner of the vineyard, Stephen Reustle, was a little hesitant at first because he didn't know how it might affect the wine, but after seeing the elephants in person, he was on board. "Of course, I inspected the elephant's foot, and low and behold, the elephant's foot is this wonderful, leathery kind of texture to it that almost makes it perfect for stomping wine grapes," said Reustle.

The elephants have been practicing for weeks to make sure they stomp the grapes just right.

Trainers say the interaction and stimulation is a big help to the elephants who lost their matriarch Tikki last week.

Senior Elephant Keeper Katie Alayan told KPIC News, "Having activities like this, having things for them to do, that's what's really important for them, getting them to be busy and stay busy, and interacting with the trainers and interacting with each other. That's our biggest priority, is making sure that they know we are still here and they still have each other and they still have us."

Tickets for next Friday's event includes dinner, live music and a bottle of wine which will come from the grapes stomped that day.

The famous High Street Band will be flown in to perform for everyone.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the park and elephant conservation.

For more information on tickets you can contact the Wildlife Safari.