Grape pickers are still active on the Cognac vineyard. They are replaced by harvesting machines, which enable large vineyards to harvest ripe grapes more quickly but are still working in some areas, some small vineyards and on a few rare slopes that are too steep to tolerate mechanization.
Before the advent of mechanization, whole Spanish villages arrived by train at the end of the summer to help the Charente producers.
The winegrowers lodged this seasonal workforce for several weeks, supervising the work of the vineyard, the winepress and the winemaking while their wives prepared hearty meals for up to several dozen people.
Some grape pickers continue this tradition but they now work in nurseries where manual labor is still the norm.