One French winegrower uses deadpan humour to recruit grape pickers

Friday October 08 2021 by Vitisphere

“Some years, it’s difficult to recruit people. This year is really challenging, probably because it’s a late harvest”, says winegrower Anthony Castaing. “Some years, it’s difficult to recruit people. This year is really challenging, probably because it’s a late harvest”, says winegrower Anthony Castaing. - Photo credit : DR

Using the kind of offbeat humour that sits well with social media, “this video has been an incredible recruitment tool”, says Anthony Castaing, the Monbazillac winegrower who heads up Domaine Grange Neuve. The estate boasts 92 hectares of bearing vineyards, 50 of them harvested by hand. Castaing’s video calling for applications for the 2021 harvest went live on Facebook on 20 September, and has since then garnered 20,000 views, enabling him to recruit the dozen seasonal grape pickers he still needed to complete the harvest. The key to his success lies in the tone of this decidedly offbeat clip, which openly parodies the video “the question is quickly answered” by French crypto currency trader and influencer Jean-Pierre Fanguin (from “hi to you, young entrepreneur” to the figures, the sparkling wine and the final “kiss”).

 

As the message accompanying the video states, it should “be viewed with a good dose of humour and derision, otherwise people may be shocked by it”. Tangibly at ease with deadpan humour, Castaing rolls out classics such as “We'll teach you to draw the secateurs as quickly as Clint in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The good guy is you harvesting and the bad guy is me, the boss”, quips the winegrower, ending with “give it a go. Anyway, if you're too bad I'll fire you at the end of the trial period”.

 

I've never fired anyone before the end of the trial period”, laughs Castaing, who points out that he has hired more seasonal workers than he needed, just in case some of them are not cut out for the job. He also stresses the very real needs that drove him to post his video: “I need about thirty pickers each year, I was worried that I hadn't got the full numbers”, he says, before starting the harvest next week. He’s now sending new applicants to his neighbours – “They’re over the moon!”

 

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