Two techniques for havesting
Traditional manual harvesting
The manual harvest is THE traditional method to harvest the grapes. Motivated and fit pickers will use pruners to cut clusters and use seals to transport the fruit. This method gives a very positive image of the production and quality of the wine despite being long and exhausting. However, manual harvesting is becoming increasingly unusual and are practiced in certain vineyards in a mandatory way.
Indeed, undertaking a manual harvest may be the result of a legislative or technical obligation. Some vineyards (as in Champagne) still need the intervention of humans during the harvest period. An intervention that no machine could replace. In addition, some types of soils such as a steep slope requires a manual harvest.
Even today in the Baronnies in Drôme Provençale, it is still possible to see this method. For example, at Domaine de la Taurelle (Photos above) or at Domaine Jaume, which invites visitors to its vineyard for an old-fashioned harvest at the end of September. But little by little, this vintage method has given way to a more mechanical method. Of course, the mechanical harvest does not allow all the grape harvests, but they have however attractive advantages for the wine growers.
Grape harvesters appeared in the 1970s. To harvest the grapes, the harvesters straddle the rows of wines to shake their feet, drop the seeds and then pick them up automatically by a recovery mechanism. The mechanical harvesting allows, in a single operation, to carry out all the tasks of the pickers, and this, in an extremely fast way. This ensures a great reactivity if the maturation goes very quickly.
Very fast and economical, the mechanical way is one of the cheapest harvesting method. Indeed the manual method is much more expensive, because of the workforce, but also the length of the harvest. Thus, this method is very popular for the production of wine at low prices, for fairly robust grape varieties or large vineyards.
Finally, the choice of a mechanical harvest or a manual harvest belongs to the grower. This is the result that will be found in the bottle that will determine the price of the wine.
And if you want to know more about our wines, you can read our article “The harvest is gone?”