Do you want to learn about grape harvesting this year, but you don’t know how to go about it? Here is everything you need to know to prepare well and live the experience of harvesting in a Quebec vineyard.
An extremely important period in the viticulture cycle, the grape harvest is crucial for winegrowers, who must reap the fruits of their labor at the right time. In Quebec, the harvest begins around mid-September and ends at the end of October.
Each grape variety has its own rhythm of veraison and must be the subject of special care during its picking. Pinot Noir is much more fragile and requires sorting in the vineyard, which is not necessary for Vidal.
Also, depending on the trellising method chosen by the winemaker, some clusters are easier to reach. In the case of a high waist or a high cord (drooping habit), the bunches will be at your eye level and you can harvest them upright. In the case of a low waist or a low cordon (up bearing), the grapes will be much lower and you will probably have to sit on a small bench to get down to the task. That said, no experience is required, only the desire to learn, to meet great people and to put your shoulder to the wheel counts!
Different formulas offered
As each vineyard is different, each harvest formula is also different.
“At the Vignoble Le Chat Botté, we welcome nearly 200 people from the public each year, underlines Normand Guénette, co-owner of the estate located in Hemmingford. To participate, people must fill out a form on our website to choose the date they wish to come to harvest at the vineyard. They have the choice between three or four weekends. They then receive a confirmation email with everything they need to know.”
In exchange for your good service, several vineyards will offer you lunch. A well-deserved break and a great opportunity to chat with the winemaker, ask him questions and sometimes taste a few cuvées.
Photo: Normand Guénette, owner and winemaker, Vignoble Le Chat Botté
Where to harvest?
Several Quebec vineyards allow you to experience the harvest. But which one to choose? The best way to find a site is therefore to follow the social networks of your favorite Quebec vineyards.
Some vineyards announce the specific dates on which they wish to welcome you. Others only reveal at the last moment if they need a helping hand. Sometimes it only takes a few degrees of sugar in the grapes for the right harvest time to come.
While some vineyards offer weekend harvest days, many also have needs during the week. This is an opportunity to take time off and spend a beautiful fall day outside!
This is what Geneviève Roy, who had her first experience of harvesting in a Quebec vineyard, did in the fall of 2021.
“I saw on the vineyard’s Facebook page that they needed help during the week. I answered the call, because I wanted to work with my hands, to be far from my computer screen, she explains. I wanted to contribute in my own way to the Quebec vineyard, to see where everything begins for wine, to see how it works, to learn something new.”
Great suggestions for harvesting
Don’t forget to contact the winemaker to validate the dates and reserve your spot!< /span>
Leon Courville, winemaker (see here)
Val Caudalies (see here)
Vignoble l’Ardennais (see here)
Vignoble Château de cartess (see here)
Vignoble Rivière du Chêne (see here)
Le Mas des Patriotes (see here)
Domaine du Fleuve vineyard (see here)
La Manse Vineyard (see here)
Domaine Mont-Vézeau (see here)
QUEBEC – ISLAND OF ORLEANS
Domaine Sainte-Famille (see here)
Isle de Bacchus vineyard (see here)