Do you want to do more than simply taste wine? If you’re interested in going behind the scenes of the wine world, please continue reading. Short-term work on vineyards is not only possible, it’s an essential experience for wine lovers of any age. Below are three ways to get your hands dirty and learn so much more than a class or book could teach you.  Help winemakers around the world and I guarantee you will have a new appreciation for the incredible traditions and hardworking people behind every bottle.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms: WWOOF

In their own words, “WWOOF enables  people to stay and volunteer on a variety of organic properties. Volunteers (WWOOFers) help for  4-6 hours a day, and hosts provide the food and accommodation. This is a good way to experience, learn and share different ways of living.”

Each participating country has their own site and membership, listed here.  I can personally recommend volunteering in Italy. 

Workaway: Workaway.info

Another great way to find jobs on vineyards is through Workaway, a more broad multi-national organization dedicated to fostering cultural exchange on and off farms.  They currently have opportunities with over 30k hosts in 155 countries.  To narrow down your search, I recommend using terms like vineyard, wine and similar and then filtering by desired country.

Perhaps the most helpful feature of Workaway is the review section for each host.  Like Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Yelp, etc., workers can leave reviews for places they’ve volunteered to help educate others on their experiences.  In return, the places they’ve worked can also leave reviews for them.   This separates Workaway from WWOOF, which has much more limited information on the hosts and no review functionality.

HelpX: HelpX.net

The smallest and probably least known organization in the world of vineyard volunteering is HelpX.  Since 2001, they’ve been pairing curious travelers with rural families and small businesses in need of agricultural, hospitality and childcare help across the world.   What is most unique about HelpX is that they also offer a great companions section which acts as a message board to help connect like-minded volunteers who want to work and travel with others.

Important Facts

  • The three groups above have annual membership fees ranging from approximately $20- $50.  Well worth it in my opinion. You can usually view listings before becoming a member, but cannot see contact information or more details.
  • All volunteers are subject to the visa requirements specific to individual citizenship and the country in which you are looking to work.
  • Most opportunities mandate that you are a minimum of 18 years old.
  • Opportunities typically require 3 – 8 hours of work per day for 4 – 6 days a week.