If you have always dreamed of traveling the world but are unsure how to start, you may be interested in trying something unique and completely off the beaten path, such as working at wineries around the world and contributing to the world’s finest international wines. If you’re intrigued, continue reading to discover just a handful of the countries where you can work at a vineyard in exchange for accommodation and a life changing experience. Let’s explore many of them via The Harvest Trail.
Photo by Mike Goren, based on Creative Commons license.
There are approximately 100,000 grape picking jobs available in France, each year. So, if you’re keen to practice your French and experience life in a small French village consider visiting France in September, when you’ll be able to apply for a grape picking job. If you’re keen to spend a few weeks or months working at a French vineyard, you may be interested in working or woofing in exchange for food, accommodation and the opportunity to learn about organic farming. If you haven’t heard of the term woofing before, it comes from the word woof, an acronym for working opportunities on organic farms. If you’re partial to Bordeaux wine, perhaps look for farms in the Bordeaux region?
If you can stand the heat of a long, hot Italian summer, make sure to include Tuscany in your international travel plans. Between June and October each year seasonal workers can live and work on a traditional Tuscan farm, in exchange for board and mouth watering, home cooked meals. At the end of a harvest, the whole community bands together to process and bottle the fruits of their labour. As an added advantage if you choose to work at an Italian vineyard you won’t have to apply for a work visa or permit as grape picking is classified as agricultural tourism. If you choose to work in Tuscany, you’ll be able to sample authentic Italian gelato and catch a glimpse of Michelangelo’s David, in Florence.
Australia is world renown for producing world class wine. If you choose to woof in Australia, you’ll be expected to volunteer picking grapes, or helping out with general vineyard duties for four to six hours a day. If you start your daily duties in the morning, you’ll have the afternoon and evening free to explore the cities and towns surrounding your vineyard. Activities you may want to try on your summer down under include horse riding in the outback, feeding a kangaroo, attending an Aussie Rules football match and learning how to surf.
New Zealand boasts eight major wine regions, which span the length and breadth of New Zealand. So no matter which region of New Zealand you’d like to explore, you’ll easily be able to find seasonal work at a local vineyard. New Zealand’s harvest season runs from December to March each year. Tasks required of seasonal workers include bud rubbing, shoot thinning, fruit thinning and net placement. On your off time you may want to try hiking one of New Zealand’s spectacular bush walks, bunjy jumping off a bridge, booking a Lord Of The Rings themed tour or trying your luck on a whale watching cruise.
Photo by Michael Cannon, based on Creative Commons license.
If you’re interested in learning about the day to day operations of an organic vineyard appeals to you, consider woofing at an Argentinian vineyard. To find out more about woofing in Argentina visit wwoofargentina.com, an information service which helps match local organic wineries with international tourists who are interested in learning about Argentinian culture and sustainable agriculture. If you’ve ever studied Spanish, woofing in Argentina will also be a great opportunity to put your Spanish skills to the test. During your time in Argentina, you’ll also get the opportunity to attend an Asado, which is a social barbecue shared with friends.
While you may not think of wineries, when you think of Canada, over the past decade both Ontario and British Columbia, have flourished as emerging world class, wine producing regions. If you can’t get enough of the great outdoors and enjoy adventurous activities such as kayaking, hiking, bear hunting (with your camera of course) and fly fishing, then Canada may be the perfect woofing destination for you. Depending on what time of year you visit Canada you may even be be able to take a weekend trip to see the Northern Lights. A dazzling display of natural lights which are visible in the night sky, at certain times of the year.
Photo by Natalie HG, based on Creative Commons license.
Now you’ve read our tips for the traveler who is looking to get off the tourist track and experience life as a local, it’s time to start planning your dream woofing trip. After all, life is far too short, to put off your dreams of traveling the world. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a millionaire to put your day job on hold and travel the world! Where there is a will, there is a way, such as woofing, to make your dreams come true.