The Newbie’s Information to Working a Wine Harvest

Obsessed with wine? Uninterested in sitting behind a laptop computer all day? On the lookout for an journey? When you answered sure to all three of those, then this may increasingly simply be the golden ticket you’ve been looking for.

It’s not a job at a chocolate manufacturing unit, however it’s at a vineyard, and that’s mainly the identical factor, isn’t it? From purple-stained arms to watching the dawn over winding vineyards, Jenna of Tales of the Vineyards is letting us in on the secrets and techniques into working a wine harvest. Right here’s what she needed to say…

It’s humorous how life works out generally and the place some roads lead us. If anybody had requested me just a few years in the past if I’d see myself spending my days in plaid tops and farm boots whereas coated in wine stains, I little doubt would have laughed and adjusted the topic.

What began out as a love for wine paired with an itch for an abroad journey, quickly become top-of-the-line experiences of my life.

In July 2019, I left my metropolis residence and workplace job in Cape City to be a harvest cellar hand at Round Pond Estate within the iconic Napa Valley for five months.

When you aren’t that well-versed on the earth of wines—no worries! So long as you’re prepared to work exhausting and study, working a wine harvest would possibly simply be for you.

Sound like your form of journey? Seize a glass of wine and maintain studying…right here’s the newbie’s information to working a wine harvest!

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Harvest  Occasions Across the World

Harvest on the earth of wine merely means the time of the 12 months when wine grapes are harvested/picked and delivered to the cellar to begin making wine.

With wineries scattered all through the world, the one actual figuring out issue when it comes to when harvest occurs is whether or not a vineyard sits within the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.

Wineries within the Southern Hemisphere can begin their wine harvest as early as December and often finish someday in April; wineries within the Northern Hemisphere often begin in August and finish round October.

Whereas these are basic instances for harvest, each vineyard is totally different with regards to their beginning and ending dates – these are decided by the kinds of wine they make, their explicit fashion of winemaking, and the vine’s rising situations.

Climate performs an enormous function within the readiness of the grapes and may both velocity up or delay selecting instances.

Wine Harvest Lingo

Hemisphere Hopping: Many within the wine trade work wine harvests as a full-time job. As a result of harvest time alternates between hemispheres, harvest employees hop from one hemisphere to the opposite as they work at totally different wineries.

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First Day of Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

Get a Harvest Job at a Vineyard

Identical to every other job, discovering a place at a vineyard for the harvest season can imply looking by job websites, however an enormous game-changer is the Travelling Winemakers Facebook Group.

A gaggle created for the only objective of individuals within the wine trade, you’ll find something from jobs around the globe to winemaking recommendation. You’ll see harvest jobs pop up on the group all year long so maintain your eyes peeled!

However what about {qualifications} and expertise?

Though many wineries search for candidates that both have earlier harvest expertise or have studied a level associated to winemaking, lots of locations choose somebody purely based mostly on curiosity and keenness.

If wine excites you and also you present the need to study then your possibilities of discovering one thing are fairly excessive. 

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What You Have to Know Beforehand

An enormous factor to consider earlier than working a harvest is investigating visa necessities. Coming from South Africa, working within the USA meant I needed to undergo a company like Worldwide Farmers Exchange to help me in making use of for a J1 visa.

Most wineries within the USA, New Zealand, and Australia will help with visa processes however you should definitely double-check beforehand.

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Grape Sampling

Grape Sampling

Jenna Filling Steel Barrels with Wine

Filling Metal Barrels with Wine

Fun in the Winery Tank Room
Safety Training at the Winery

What to Expect

Honestly, a life-changing experience. It’s tough to narrow down exactly what to expect because every winery operates differently. At some wineries you might work the night shift for a month straight, at others, you might work every second day.

One common thread amongst all of them, however, is that its hard work, you’ll receive your badge of honor (wine-stained hands) and your tired body will love every bit of rest that it gets.

But aside from the long hours, you can expect to make lifelong friends, drink your fair share of beer (responsibly), learn a lot, do plenty of blind wine tastings and make the most incredible memories.

When it comes to compensation, housing, and meals, this is another thing that varies hugely across the board.

In my case, I had to find and pay for my own housing in Napa and sort out all of my own food, but then I was paid a really good salary ($18 an hour and $27 an hour for overtime).

In other cases, you’re given free accommodation, are fed, and receive a salary. I loved my situation as I ended up moving in with 2 incredible people that I now miss dearly and who I otherwise would never have met.

I think what’s most important is to be open to different situations and to weigh up your options but to always remember that no matter what, it’ll be an unreal experience.

Side Note

In most countries, people that are working harvest are able to visit other wineries in the area and do free wine tastings or get an industry discount.

On your free days, use this to your advantage to grow your wine knowledge and of course, taste amazing wines.

Visiting other Wineries Diamonds and Ashes 1
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Blundstone Boots Winery Napa Harvest What tot Pack

What  to Pack

It goes without saying that whatever you wear to the winery, expect to get it dirty and/or stained so leave your favorite shirts at home.

Most wineries will give you a couple of t-shirts with their own branding along with a few freebies from suppliers, but these are the essentials that you can’t live without…

  • A great pair of waterproof, grippy boots like Blundstones
  • Chunky socks
  • A pocket book to scribble down an extended listing of directions
  • Pants or tights with pockets (you might must maintain a flashlight on you)
  • A heat jacket for days within the cellar
  • A bottle or 2 of wine from your private home nation to take pleasure in along with your group
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1Grape Sampling in the Vineyard
1Hot Air Balloon above Napa Vineyards

My Favourite Reminiscences

The entire expertise.

But when I had to consider one, it’s a fairly easy reminiscence. In in the present day’s day and age, it’s exhausting to not get carried away with the tempo of issues and to not get caught up within the rat race; forgetting to decelerate and take on this magical world round us.

Whereas I’ve so many favourite reminiscences from my harvest, my mornings strolling by the vineyards with the solar slowly rising, the contemporary air in my lungs, and the leaves crunching beneath my boots usually involves thoughts.

It’s tough to place into phrases but it surely was a time of actually simply taking in my environment, respiration, and feeling like I didn’t have a fear on the earth, that I’d discovered one thing that actually made me really feel alive. One thing that I feel many others really feel once they work a wine harvest.

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Round Pond Harvest Team 2019

Last Ideas

For anybody that loves wine and is wanting to actually immerse themselves on the earth of wine, working a harvest ought to be on the highest of your listing.

You’ll come out of it with a lot information, a new-found appreciation for the artwork of winemaking, and can little doubt be prepared for the following one.

And in the event you’re ever searching for extra recommendation or recommendations, I’m solely a message away on Instagram.

In vino veritas – In wine lies the reality

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