Home > Case Studies > My Summer of Grape Picking in France: A Case Study

My Summer of Grape Picking in France: A Case Study

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 1 May 2015 | comments*Discuss
Summer Student Grape Picking France

As Jack Menzies went straight from school to university, he sometimes felt a bit left out when his student friends would talk about their gap year adventures.

He decided to spend a summer working in Europe to gain a few of the life adventures that his friends had and broaden his mind before he graduated and started looking for full time employment.

Wanting an Adventure

Jack told us, “After I left school, I couldn’t afford to take a gap year and I was keen to get started at university. To be honest, I was worried that if I didn’t go straight to university I would end up not going at all. Although I loved university, most of my new mates had spent time abroad and had loads of stories of meeting random people, living out of a tent or some crazy tale! I wanted my own, but I didn’t want to drop out of university or wait till I graduated, so I started looking at possible options for my summer after my first year.”

Jack started by speaking to the careers advisor at the university, who put him in touch with a few online organisations that arrange summer jobs for students.

Jack continued, “I decided to spend my summer in France and I wanted to do something outdoors – so I would come back to uni looking fit and tanned! Grape picking sounded perfect – long hours but all outdoors, so I thought I’d get pretty fit. It started in the last week of August, so I spent July working for a camp site, cleaning the tents ready for new guests. This really helped my French and I had a few adventures before the grape picking even started!”

Three Weeks of Hard Work

Jack found a grape picking job in one of the key wine growing areas, near Dijon. It was really tough work – eight hours a day, seven days a week. Grape pickers need to be over eighteen and in good health, although many find themselves far fitter at the end of the season!

Jack explained, “We were paid €50 a day and all board and lodging was paid for – the food was basic but there was plenty of it, which is what you really need after a long day in the vines. I didn’t really need to spend much because most the evenings the grape pickers had dinner and lots of wine, all provided by the farm. We slept in dorms in a converted barn as part of the farm, which got really hot as there was no air conditioning. I met so many different people and learnt so much that I am really pleased I did it!”

Insurance Etc.

The insurance was provided by the farm, as is legally required, but Jack needed to arrange his own travel insurance, journeys from home at the beginning and end of the season and any ‘fun money’ for days out. Jack said, “There wasn’t any time off during the season so I would recommend any one else to take some time to travel round before the grape picking harvest starts as by the time it finished, 20 days later, I needed to go straight back to uni. But my tan was great!”

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[Add a Comment]
@Kice - I've been grape picking in Italy and it's hard, and it can be backbreaking, but it's very enjoyable If you do an online search for vineyards, especially ones that might have a few hectares and that produce a good amount of hand-picked grapes, then you should be able to source some work and accommodation before you leave.
Ed - 1-May-15 @ 11:01 AM
Hi,Could you tell me the name of the vineyard you stayed at?I am American and don't have papers to work in France, will vineyards pay under the table?If I showed up in Dijon in early September, do you think it would be hard to find work?
Kice - 1-May-15 @ 1:40 AM
@Jadee - we don't have direct contact details I'm afraid. However, there are plenty of vineyards that would be only too grateful for your help over vintage. The season begins usually in September for grapes and it may only be a few weeks work. If you wanted to extend your stay there may be other picking jobs from fruits that have later harvests.
GoWorkAbroad - 19-Mar-15 @ 11:56 AM
Hi! It sounds like Jack hadan amazing experience; one I wish to have as well. I am currently on a university exchange in France and am looking to stay into the summer months and work a job such as this. Any contact information for this farm or agency would be much appreciated! Thank you, Jade :)
Jadee - 16-Mar-15 @ 10:20 PM
hy i m kashif from pakistan i m looking farm job your job is very good please give me this job thanks
zada - 25-Jan-15 @ 6:48 AM
Hi I know your case study is a few years old but it sounds like exactly what I'm looking for if you could give me the name, number or email address of the farm you worked in it'd be great!! Thanks etain
Etyccv - 12-Jul-14 @ 4:10 PM
hi i really love to work in your farm fruit picking im from england (uk) and have few friends to help out please could you get intouch with me a.s.a.p what season of the month you work.
mak - 7-Aug-12 @ 12:27 PM
Hi,I also think this is just what I'm after. Could you please give me the name of the farm or agency involved. Thanks very much Lesley
Lesley Begg - 10-May-12 @ 11:39 PM
Hello, im just looking for that kind of job. Would be awesome but they never show their adress. May I ask you for the the name or some contact of the farm that you worked. I woud be very greatful for it!! Thank you! Enojy your life!
klarin - 13-Apr-12 @ 12:14 PM
Just to second the other two posts really, would you be able to send me the name/contact details of the farm/agency too please. Cheers
Macca - 26-Mar-12 @ 2:03 PM
This sounds great fun- just what I was looking for. I'd love the name of the farm too if possible? Thanks
Lmjs2012 - 27-Feb-12 @ 2:04 PM
hello! this case study sounds good, so I would like to try working in France too :) would you give me the name of farm/agency? e-mail adress or something like that? I would be greatly pleased! Bye
gawronea - 30-May-11 @ 6:30 PM
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