It’s one of those very romantic working holiday images…walking through the vineyards and picking ripe grapes, placing them into a basket and ending the day with a family meal and lots of wine. So lets look a the options and feel free to reach out with any questions!
CAN I GET PAID WORK HARVESTING
First thing to point out, if you are here on a tourist visa you are not legally allowed to work in France. Some vineyards will offer days where you can come harvest grapes (vendange) in the morning and then be served lunch on site, although these are usually experiences you pay for. Typical time of year will be end of August-September (for red and white)-October (for sweet wines).
If you are here in France and able to work legally, try checking these sites :
If you have experience in other countries already, I recommend contacting any properties that are of interest. Chateau Coutet near Saint Emilion, for example, is known for their repeat help and jovial environment. Salary is usually minimum wage (smic).
WHAT YOU DO DURING A HARVEST EXPERIENCE
We were able to help our friends Diana and Steve harvest one day at their vineyard Chateau La Corne, near Le Pian-sur-Garonne. We started early in the morning and learned rather quickly which grapes to cut and which to leave. The morning was lovely and we couldn’t have asked for better weather! Steve, who is also the winemaker (vigneron), was great at teaching us what to look for and how to use our secateurs to cut the bunches of grapes off the vines. After we had harvested enough grapes to fill the press, we helped in the cellar (chai) and learned about the next steps in the wine making process (vinification).
Diana was busy making lunch for all of us…which was graciously served and delivered with plenty of different wines to taste from the estate. For me, this half day experience was perfect. We were able to see the many steps between harvest and barrel, but it was not so laborious that I was physically exhausted by the end of the day. So finding a location like this could be ideal for those here on shorter time frames.
If you would like to join Diana and Steve at their vineyard and help with the harvest, learn about winemaking, and have a lovely lunch…contact Chateau La Corne directly. Their morning harvest experience with lunch and wines starts at 150 EURO for two adults minimum, each additional adult 55 EURO, up to six adults total / 1 La Corne, 33490 Le Pian-sur-Garonne / firstname.lastname@example.org / +33 (0)6 83 73 97 34 / https://www.chateaulacorne.com/
Check out the information here for a morning in the Graves vines, starting at 39 EURO pp http://www.bordeaux-graves-sauternes.com/fr/pages/12-ateliers-vendanges/