Grape picking in the Beaujolais: an authentic experience


Ah, the grape harvests in the Beaujolais region! It’s a period of intense emotions, a time when 50,000 grape pickers, young and not quite so young, men and women, experienced and novices, from all over the world come to lend a very welcome and very necessary hand to the winegrowers!

Everyone meets up early in the morning to make their way to their designated grape picking spot for the day. Their mission is to pick the best bunches of grapes!

What is unique about grape picking in the Beaujolais region

The enthusiastic workers and professionals who work side by side during the grape picking season fully deserve the adjective courageous. Some of the vines cling to hillsides at over 500 meters above sea level, sloping down to 200 meters at gradients of up to 50%.

Grape picking in the Beaujolais might be tricky at times but it is also an exhilarating experience. Physical labor combined with the friendly and sociable atmosphere as everyone works together in the vines leaves a lasting impression on those that take part. Some of them come back year after year and become perfect ambassadors for Beaujolais.


Manual harvest

Harvest in the Beaujolais takes place between the end of August and the beginning of October, and in most estates the grapes are picked by hand.  Many of the growers who opt for a manual harvest do so because the location and layout of their vineyards leaves them with no other choice.

Vine plantations in the Beaujolais are densely packed and often on extremely steep slopes. Harvesting machines simply can’t reach these areas where man’s agility and dexterity is required to harvest the precious buches of grapes.

And there’s no doubt that hand picking plays an important role in the quality of the wine in so far as it means that the grapes are treated as carefully as possible.


A meticulous step by step process

Every gesture is precise. Everyone has his or her role. It starts with the “cutters” who pull off a few leaves and cut the stalk at the base with secateurs to free the bunches of grapes. They then painstakingly check that the bunch isn’t damaged and inspect the quality of the grapes.

The “cutters” put the best of what they have picked in the baskets of the “porters” who walk up and down the rows of vines.  The grapes are then taken to the cellar for vatting.

The bunches of grapes are stored in vats for several days before pressing.


Grape picking in the Beaujolais region is usually great fun and very sociable. Of course, conditions are not always that easy and the work begins at dawn. But it’s also a time for sharing and for people to work together side by side. The future of all Beaujolais wines, including the Beaujolais, the Beaujolais-Villages and the crus depends on this willingness to work together.  And it’s no mean feat!


See on : the video about the harvest in the Beaujolais.

Share this article on
On the same theme
  • Video : Harvest in the Beaujolais

    Hello! For our Beaujolais Moment today, I’d like to give you a taste of the excitement of the harvest.

  • Beaujolais Nouveau True or False

    Over the years, Beaujolais Nouveaux wines have suffered from many rumors and stereotypes: “Every year, there’s a taste of banana”, “Yes, it’s a good pre-dinner drink, but no good at all with a meal!”, “and it’s best if you drink it straight away otherwise it just tastes like dishwater”...

    More than anything else, Beaujolais Nouveaux wines are victims of their own success - everyone has an opinion on them, whether they know them or not...

    Forget all the preconceived ideas. Stand out from the crowd and become a connoisseur of these wines by reading the article below.

  • The Beaujolais Wine Route

    Like any self-respecting winegrowing area, the Beaujolais region has its own wine route. It continues on from the Burgundy Wine Route, passing through the region’s main tourist attractions. All we can say is that there is nothing quite like this 140-km circuit across the ridges for tickling your taste buds and dazzling your eyes.

    From Chânes nearly all the way to Lyon, you'll receive a warm welcome in dozens of municipalities from locals who will be only too pleased to help you discover their heritage, wines and delicacies.

  • Beaujolais: the year in festivals

    The Beaujolais is one of the most convivial regions in France. Yes, really it is, and there are social events all year round! You find this hard to believe? Well, here are 9 events that will make you change your mind.