Always wondered what it’s like to take part in a harvest and getting one step closer to being a winemaker? Well, here's three wineries offering varying levels of 'work' as part of a holiday break…
Taking part in the wine harvest in Europe as a tourist can be tricky due to employment and insurance laws and also because many wineries simply prefer to use trained pickers rather than letting unknown visitors loose on their grapes.
One of the best ways of getting involved more seriously is still to try to utilise any possible direct contacts, or to apply formally via employment offices.
That said, agri-tourism is a growing area and some wine estates have started offering harvest packages. Here are some examples…
Last-minute French wine harvest holiday ideas
Le Saint-James, Bordeaux
Treat yourself to a luxury trip to the vineyards of Bordeaux, and try your hand at grape picking at Le Saint-James, a château hotel in Bouliac, with both a bistro and Michelin-starred restaurant on site.
When: 23rd to the 25th September
What’s included: Two nights at Le Saint-James, Friday dinner at Bistro Le Café de L’Espérance, grape picking on Saturday, with lunch, and dinner Saturday night at Michelin starred restaurant, Le Saint-James.
Best for: Those who want their hard work rewarded with fine dining.
La Bastide de Marie, Provence
Visit Provence this September at La Bastide de Marie, an 18th century farmhouse estate, also home to the Domaine du Marie vineyard and winery. A more leisurely approach to the harvest, take the opportunity to have tour with head winemaker Arnaud Bressi, and then relax in the spa or one of two swimming pools back at the hotel.
When: Throughout September
Price: Rooms start from €490.
Tour includes: Introducing guests to the harvest, enjoy a lunch with the grape pickers and participate in a wine tasting in the cellar that afternoon.
Best for: Those who prefer a more ‘observational’ approach to the harvest.
Château de Pommard, Burgundy
This September Château de Pommard offers the chance to learn all about the harvest process; hand pick the grapes, help at the sorting table and play a part in the start of the vinification process, alongside their vineyard team.
When: From 7 – 17 September
Price: €100 (accommodation not included)
What’s included: As well as a full learning programme – from the terroir to handpicking to sorting and vinification – a tasting of Chardonnay with canapes to start the day and finishing of a tasting of eight wines in the cellar.
Best for: Those who want to learn everything from grape to glass.
Getting there: Take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris, then change for a train to Gare du Beaune.
Please note: Decanter has not taken part in any of the packages listed above.
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