" It's 8:30 in the morning and an autumnal chill remains in the air from the night before. The sun is doing its best to burn off the low-lying mist that clings to the fields and gullies of the Cote D'Or. Beams of sunlight gradually break the day, spotlighting the lichen and moss that cling to ancient dry-stone walls. A rough carpet of deep reds, purples, ochre, and gold stretches as far as I can see and the astonishing natural beauty of this celebrated wine region has caught me off guard again. Gazing dumbfounded at this age-old image in front of me, I forget my purpose for being here at this early hour.
The assertive voice of the vigneron I am working for reminds me why I am here and reluctantly I slip out of sight below the row of vines to my left. Down here the world looks very different. Drops of dew cling to delicate cobwebs while harvest spiders scramble for cover. The damp air hangs amongst the vine stock and the rich earth hangs heavy on my rubber boots.
Moving amongst the wet vines my shorts and shirt are wet and cling to my body. My back is all ready complaining about another day of this repetitive work. Focusing on my prize, I handle a heavy bunch of plump red grapes andâ?¦snip! The bunch joins the dozens others in the basket by my feet and, edging uncomfortably forward, I move to the next vine in the endless row of Pinot Noir ahead of me. Only another seven days to go..."
There is no better time to visit Burgundy than during the annual grape harvest. Taking place 100 days after the vines have flowered, this busy few days in late summer is the culmination of of a years hard work in the vines.
During the harvest the quiet villages and vines of Cote d'Or are transformed from their usual calm to become a hive of human activity. Teams of pickers work lines of vines with locust-like efficiency. Porters carry "hods" overflowing with fruit and tractors, with full trailers, rush between the fields and the winery.
This grape harvest has been taking places in Burgundy for millennia, and most vineyards still insist on picking their precious crop by hand. Workers still travel from all over Europe to pick and carry the grapes, while many are locals who involve themselves in this historic get-together year after year.
Witnessing the wine harvest is a must for any real wine lover. Here at The Hungry Cyclist Lodge we won't force you into the fields to pick any grapes, but book accommodation for the Burgundy grape harvest with us, and whether you're watching the pickers from our terrace or walking in the vines, we guarantee you'll experience the true nature of this important annual event first hand.