Work your way around New Zealand’s wine regions

Clean. Green. Extreme.

That’s often how New Zealand’s described by those who have visited. With its breathtaking scenery, adrenalin pumping activities, and easy access to both sea and mountains, New Zealand is the ideal travel destination.

But it’s also home to a thriving wine making industry that is always on the look out for seasonal workers.

So if you’re in the mood for a working vacation in one of the world’s most scenic locations, why not head for New Zealand.

New Zealand’s clean-green image is maintained by the wine industry through it’s sustainable winegrowing initiative. A framework of industry standards was developed over 10 years ago to ensure that winegrowers focus on improving and maintaining the environmental integrity and ‘clean-green’ image of their wine production.

Most wineries and vineyards around New Zealand now have accredited vineyard status allowing them to display the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand emblem. A list of these accredited wineries and vineyards can be found at the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand website.

There are hundreds of vineyards and wineries in New Zealand and most are on the lookout for seasonal workers to prune the wines and help with the harvests.

But remember, the seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere, with harvesting occurring in between February and April and pruning from June to August. However, workers are also needed from November to March for general tidy up and vineyard maintenance.

Because New Zealand’s ten wine regions are spread from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island, it’s possible, with careful planning, to follow the ‘harvest trail’ and pick up vineyard jobs in different parts of the country.

For example, chardonnay grapes are harvested in the warmer and more humid northern regions (Northland, Auckland, and Gisborne) in late February and early March whereas further south (Central Otago), these grapes are often not harvested until mid to late April.

A Working Holiday Visa is a necessity for anyone considering seasonal work in New Zealand. No one will employ you without it. The visa is available to those between the ages 18 and 30 and lets you live and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months. The specific requirements vary, depending on your citizenship and can be found on the New Zealand Immigration Department website’s Working Holiday Scheme page. Simply click on your country and all is revealed, including how to apply.

Once you are in the country, a great way of finding seasonal work is by checking out noticeboards. Target your wine region and once you’re there, head for the local New Zealand Employment Service and eyeball the noticeboard. At harvest time, there should be plenty of jobs to choose from. Noticeboards can also be found at supermarkets, shopping centers, and backpacker hostels.

Other effective ways of finding seasonal work include looking for signs on the local road, reading local newspapers, and knocking on doors. Many of the areas will also have a Seasonal Work Co-ordinator – just ask at the local tourist information center.

So what are you waiting for?


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