The harvest in BurgundyTo find out all about the Burgundy harvest, click here!

The harvest in Burgundy

To find out all about the Burgundy harvest, click here!

Ah, harvest time… Vines laden with bunches of purple or gold, daily harvests, the sound of tractor engines in the distance, the laughter of grape-pickers and the expert gaze of winegrowers… Every September, the grape harvest opens the ball for Burgundy’s wine production. At various estates on the Côte de Beaune, you can enjoy this unique experience in the heart of the vineyard. But before you pick up your pruning shears or carry your baskets, why don’t we tell you a little more?

Harvest dates in Burgundy: who decides?

Although harvesting in Burgundy generally begins in September, it’s the soil, vintage and grape variety that will first determine a domaine’s harvest start date. For a winegrower, this choice is crucial for his operation.

To determine this date, several techniques are available. The oldest involves tasting the berry… The winemaker takes the bunch in his mouth and crunches it so that the juice can escape. In this way, he can gauge the level of sugar and therefore alcohol! A traditional technique still practiced today.

In Burgundy, we harvest by hand

In Burgundy, although some wineries use machines to harvest their grapes, the majority of harvests remain manual. The winemaker, depending on the size of his operation, assembles a team of pickers whom he trains from the outset to sort and select the bunches. In general, harvesting lasts 10 to 15 days and requires around twenty pickers.

During the harvest, the pickers cut the bunches of grapes and meticulously place them in baskets retrieved by porters. For novices, no need to worry! In the vineyards, the more experienced pickers generally help the slower ones and train the younger ones. This often festive atmosphere with its unique conviviality is to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

A typical grape-picker's day

A typical grape-picker’s day starts at around 7:30 am. After two hours’ work, the estate offers coffee, red and white wine, and a snack to the whole team in the vineyards. At 12:30 pm, it’s time for the lunch break, which usually lasts an hour.

It’s 5 pm! The grape-pickers put down their baskets and secateurs and head home… A well-deserved rest and a chance to regain their strength before the new day’s work ahead.

In some estates, grape-pickers may also be asked to work in the wineries. Generally, this involves the sorting table, but sometimes two or three people are recruited to do other winemaking-related work.

After the effort, the comfort! With the Paulée, the end of the harvest rhymes with festivities. Over a meal, all the grape-pickers, winemakers and friends get together, eat together and taste the estate’s wines. It’s a chance to say thank you, reminisce, toast and look forward to seeing you next year!

Harvest & tasting experience

You too can take part in the grape harvest and experience for a few hours the typical day of a grape picker. Discover the harvest for a morning or a day at prestigious estates and taste the wines.

My tourist harvest in Burgundy

Harvesting in Burgundy: a seasonal job