In our commitment to supporting the local job economy in Sussex, each year we recruit more than 200 people to pick grapes and help in the Winery during Harvest. Many come back year after year or continue to work with us as the flexible work suits many people’s lifestyles.

This year, we’re shining a light on our cellar hands who join our Winery team throughout October to operate machinery, keep records, assist with laboratory work and contribute to an excellent Harvest.

Meet Sam. Sam’s career in viticulture began in Barossa Valley, Australia where she worked as a cellar hand during 2018. Inspired by this experience, she returned to the UK to study towards a BSc in Viticulture and Oenology. During this time Sam worked as assistant winemaker at Plumpton, a role which enabled Sam to deepen her knowledge by supervising all aspects of the winery operations.

Woman in Winemaking

This year Sam sought the opportunity to work at Rathfinny where she was able to experience the process of sparkling winemaking and to work with a Coquard Press. This is a machine designed in France to keep the grapes stationary during the pressing that extracts the delicate fruits characters of the grapes in the wines.

Working 12 to14 hour days can be hard work but Sam has enjoyed the team spirit which has contributed to this year’s harvest being a very positive experience for her.

Female Wine Maker

Sam is continuing to look for job opportunities both here and abroad while she completes her final year at Plumpton and then hopes to return to Australia working as an Assistant Winemaker.

Thank you to Sam and the 2020 harvest team!