The harvests in Alsace are later this year than in 2020. Too bad for the students who had been numerous that year to make a little nest egg before facing winter. Their classes have resumed and Alsatian winegrowers have to rely mainly on the local population, the surrounding municipalities or large cities, for lack of being able to offer accommodation for many of them. “But it is mainly like that in viticulture in Alsace, unlike other crops such as asparagus which call on workers from other countries”, explains Gilles Ehrhart, president of the Association des viticulteurs d’Alsace. (AVA). Association which has 3,400 members throughout Alsace, mainly independent winegrowers.
This year, the crémant harvest begins this Monday against August 24 last year and those of still wines on September 20. A very complicated wine season after a spring with rainy weather, little sunshine slowing down the growth of the vines even if “this end of the season is magnificent and allows the grapes that remain to ripen quietly” reassures Gilles Ehrhart. The fault is also mildew, a pathogenic fungus, then powdery mildew which decimated the bunches of grapes. “We did not save everything and we end up with winegrowers who have crop losses of up to 80%. Especially those who are organic or in conversion. For all winegrowers we should be around 30% loss. We have never had such damage ”laments Gilles Ehrhart.
Much less grapes
Fewer grapes, but paradoxically more demands from wine growers. The Alsace Vendanges platform, supervised by the Colmar Lacarre employment agency for twenty-seven years, has received more than 2,100 jobs this season compared to 1,700 last year, specifies Julie Delinde, in charge of the platform’s management. Platform which each year connects more than 300 winegrowers located along the entire wine route and those who want to harvest. “The bulk of the needs are cutters (grape pickers) but also tractor drivers, but for them it is more difficult to meet because they often require experience. Carriers are also sought, ”explains Julie Delinde.
On Friday, a few hours before the start of the harvest, there were still around 1,500 positions to be filled, but “many teams are already full. Many of its offers should be withdrawn in the middle of the week when the harvest has really started and once the winegrowers are reassured ”confides Julie Delinde. And for those who would like to participate in the harvest of still wines, the cell remains open to postulant harvesters (03 89 20 80 70) until the end of September. They will then be directed to the closest winemaker.