Mechanical Harvesting

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

mechanical harvesting, harvesting by machine in place of the traditional manual harvest. Undoubtedly one of the greatest changes from ancient to modern vineyards has been the adoption of machine harvesting, which was first introduced commercially in the 1960s. Whereas manual grape harvesting required literally hordes of pickers to descend on vineyards and complete the harvest, now the vintage may be completed by just one harvester driver, perhaps with a supporting driver and vehicle to receive the harvested grapes. Depending on the yield and vineyard topography, to harvest a vineyard by hand requires between one and ten man-days per hectare, as opposed to less than five man-hours per hectare by machine.