Citizen grape pickers wanted
September 2, 2011
By JOHN SALISBURY
“A Call to Arms” especially to you who say Americans will do the work instead of undocumented immigrants! You suggest that if farmers paid enough for these ag-labor jobs then the unemployment rate will diminish.
Farmers find this humorous as most of have been paying well over California’s minimum wage of $8 an hour for years. At our operation, we pay a guaranteed $80 a day for 6 to 8 hours a day to pick wine grapes starting around the second week of September.
That’s provided we finally get some sunshine around here and not this way over-extended “June Gloom.” The wages usually average out to around $12 to $13 an hour because we start at 7 a.m. and knock off around 1:30 p.m. in order to get the fruit to the winery relatively cool and before the big rush for the crusher.
We usually work a five-day week with some breaks in between ripening until the end of October and then wait on our cool-weather Syrah picking it around Veterans Day (11th minute, 11th hour, 11th day of the 11th month and you can add the 11th year this time).
Requirements are that you fill out a job application, provide us with documentation for our 2011 I-9 and W-4 forms, participate in a safety briefing, take only the normal breaks, keep up with the crew doing your share, can lift 35 pounds, and follow picking instructions which is basically, “If you wouldn’t eat it, then drop it because we don’t want it in our wine.”
We supply the cotton gloves and shears. On occasion, depending on the need, we may go the full eight hours but it is not the norm. Three quarters of the work is in Avila Valley and one quarter in Paso Robles. We expect the pickers to work in both vineyards and provide their own transportation.
Call Salisbury Vineyards at 805-595-9463 between noon and 5 p.m. Looking forward to a huge . I truly hope to be pleasantly surprised how we just hit 12 percent unemployment in California. For those of you who would like to just come out for a couple of hours and experience the harvest, you are more than welcome. Or work for wine?