Grapepicking in France

Our programme

Grapepicking in France still captures the imagination of many persons all over the world. With good reason: the wine producing areas are among the most beautiful and romantic of France, the food and drink is Burgundian and from all corners of the world pickers come to work here and to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere.

This grapepicking programme is made for everyone who thinks of grapepicking in France. Apcon brings farmers and pickers into contact with each other. We also provide all possible information, based on our experience as grapepickers for years and years. We take care of a good place of work and all appointments as regards start of the harvest, the total duration of the working period and extensive information about the work and journey.

The region & the vineyards

All our places of work are in the Beaujolais and Maconais regions. These are situated just north of Lyon. The countryside is rolling and gradually becomes a higher mountain ridge. Scattered throughout the region lie small, picturesque villages. The vineyards are usually situated on the slopes, so from there you often get panoramic views of the surroundings. In September the weather is fine for the most part, but it may break all of a sudden.

During the ‘vendanges’ (grape harvest) it is busy in the small villages. After work and diner many ‘vendangeurs’ (grape pickers) go to small pubs or the wine cellars of the farmers. The farmers make their own wine or deliver their grapes to a co-operative nearby. Some farmers work by order of one of the bigger ‘chateaux’ (or have one themselves).

The work

The grapes are harvested in September, depending on the weather circumstances. Just like a lot of agricultural work, grapepicking is rewarding, but hard work. The working position is tiring, the more so towards the end of your working day. Depending on the composition/ size of your farmer’s team it may at times be possible to do the ‘carrying’. This puts less strain on your back, but it’s just as tiring (a full backbasket weighs about 50 kg). Furthermore, it may be fairly warm in the afternoons (up to 30 °C), but chilly in the early morning (freezing point). A farmer’s grape harvest takes between 7 and 18 days.

Grape picking work

Board & Lodgings

All our selected farmers offer adequate facilities: a clean bed, shower and toilet. The accommodation varies greatly: from a chateau’s annexes to an attic in a farm shed. On most of the farms in our programmes, the winegrowers offer you a bed. Some farmers offer the opportunity to pitch your tent. As long as you don’t expect a hotel with privacy, you’ll find things will be all right. Often there are separate dormitories for males and females. The day before the harvest begins, you’ll be welcome.

All meals are included. Food consists of: breakfast, many farmers serve a ‘casse croute’ – a kind of second breakfast – in the field, and two hot meals a day. These hot meals are elaborate and typically French (with wine, of course). This may seem a bit much, but you’ll definitely need it!

Know more? Read the practical information about the programme (costs, conditions, your pay, insurence …).