Harvest Notes

Welcome to the harvest page for employment.

Some information about grape picking for the benefit of people who may not have done this type of job before.

The following applies to the 2021 grape picking season that starts in the middle of February.

We pride ourselves on running a happy, motivated team and we are pleased to announce we will be offering the following incentives to sign up and work for us during the 2021 grape picking season:

  • We are offering hourly pay ($25.15/hour as per the Wine Industry Award) to each team member.
  • We will also be offering piece rate for faster pickers to earn above hourly rate – our piece rate prices are set from the team average over the last 3 years (set to hourly pay + 20% or $30.18), so it is reasonable to expect half our team at least will be earning above the hourly rate.
  • We are also finalising details of extra special incentives which we will be able to tell you about when you start working with us – but believe us when we say they will be AWESOME!
  • Refill tanks for water bottles are at each end of the picking rows.
  • There will be refreshments offered during the morning break – such as biscuits, fruits, cakes and juices.
  • After work, we love to wind down and give our beautiful team a nice cold beer/soft drink or juice.
  • We are also negotiating for our lovely team to receive a nice bottle of wine weekly as well – a suitable reward to enjoy the weekends!

You can expect to work a MINIMUM of 04 hours starting on sunrise – we like our staff to earn good money, so we TRY to aim for about 06 hours of work per day.

We also try to pick 05 days a week (Monday to Friday) but this depends on the weather being suitable for picking (no picking in heavy rain) and the grapes must be ready for our loving hands to cut them off!

We expect to start picking in the middle of February.

Notes for Harvest season - picking grapes

  • Harvest season can be anywhere from late January to middle to late April. It is totally dependent on the weather (Nice warm to hot days and nights with not too much rainfall). Each year, the starting time is different as no two years have the same summers.
  • Each variety of grape is picked only when it is ready. The sugar levels must rise to an amount that is satisfactory to convert to alcohol. This is totally weather dependant and if the sugars are not ready, then the grapes will not be picked until they are ready.
  • Mostly, grapes are picked in this order: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chenin Blanc. After this, then all remaining red varieties are picked last as they take the longest to ripen: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and so on.

How piece rate works

PLEASE NOTE THAT IS ILLEGAL TO FORCE AN EMPLOYEE ONTO PIECE RATE. WE ONLY OFFER PIECE RATE IF A WORKER IS CAPABLE OF EARNING ABOVE HOURLY RATE.  BELOW ARE RELEVANT POINTS FROM THE GOVENRMENT WEBSITE AWARD

  • Clause 22.2 : The piecework rate fixed by agreement between the employer and the employee must enable an employee of average capacity to earn at least 20% more per hour than the minimum hourly wage for ordinary hours of work which is prescribed in this award for the type of employment and the classification level of the employee. The piecework rate agreed is to be paid for all work performed in accordance with the piecework agreement.
  • Clause 22.5 : The employer and the individual employee must have genuinely made the piecework agreement without coercion or duress.
  • Clause 22.9 : An employer seeking to enter into a piecework agreement with an employee must provide the proposed written agreement to the employee. Where the employee's understanding of written English is limited the employer must take measures, including translation into an appropriate language, to ensure the employee understands the proposed piecework agreement.
  • Clause 22.10 : Nothing in this award guarantees an employee on a piecework rate will earn at least the minimum ordinary time weekly or hourly wage in this award for the type of employment and the classification level of the employee, as the employee's earnings are contingent on their productivity.

In regards to point 22.9, we simplify this by adding it onto our website.

  • Prices can be anywhere from $2.00 (very easy picking) to $6.60 (highly difficult) per 10 kg bucket.
  • Fast pickers make good money (2020 – best picker above $35-40/hour). During harvest, every day we post all the days picking on our Facebook page. If you would like to check it out, the last 3 harvest years are on it and you can see that some people can make very good money per hour (2019 on one day, 3 team members picked over 100 buckets in less than 6 hours!).
  • The rate per 10kg of grapes picked (one bucket) is set on historical data from the previous 3 vintages and through observations prior to the picking season and is adjusted accordingly each year.
  • Basically, the rate is set at how many 10.00 kg buckets a reasonable picker should be able pick per hour to earn an equivalent hourly pay PLUS 20%.
  • Pay week is Monday to Sunday.
  • Pay day is Tuesday morning two days after the Sunday.
  • We start picking grapes the moment the is enough morning sunlight!
  • We pick grapes usually Monday to Friday and try to give approximately 4.00 -6.00 hours of picking – after 6.00 hours, most pickers are too tired to continue as it is very physically tiring.
  • If it is raining, then no one in Margaret River will pick grapes as the rainwater washes out the sugars in the grapes.
  • If the temperature EXCEEDS 37.50 Degrees Celsius, then ALL WORK STOPS FOR THE DAY. NO EXCEPTIONS (IT’S TOO DANGEROUS).

Visa days are signed off as:

  1. Each day worked (no minimum hours in harvest) = one visa day.
  2. If you’ve worked a total of 5 days in a seven-day week, then that is given as = seven visa days.
  3. If less than 5 days worked, (i.e. 04 days in a 7-day week), then only the days worked will be counted towards visa days.
 
 

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