Cellar Rat Hours

I’m curious what the hours are of the average cellar rat/ entry level worker for small wineries? Mostly early morning start times or does it just vary? I would love to try and work somewhere for this years harvest and I know you can’t really choose what hours you want to work but a general idea would help me make some decisions…


I’m not entry level, but for the last 2 years I have worked 75-80 days straight, no days off, and usually 10-16 hours a day. Entry level means nothing in this business. Not matter who you are, you do the job until it is done.

That is all.

That says it all.
Best, Jim

I would get crackin’ McCrackin. Most wineries have already hired their cellar help for this year’s harvest. But as everyone else has said, you need to be ready at all times. Look to have (occasional) Sunday off except for punch downs.

Good luck! It’s an incredible time…go-go-go!

Heck, I can always find jobs. But it’s not as if I expect to be paid.


I’ll keep track and let you know. So far, 40 hrs this week – but no fruit thus far.

It was a function of the time during crush in my experience, but until mid-October it was seven days a week, at least full-time. Hours varied, but we were pulling 10-12 hours at the height of things on average and toward the end (when 80-90% was already in barrel) there were days that I’d come in and out during normal “business hours” to do punchdowns, readings etc.

The worst day was 6am - 12 am, but it’s all a function of when fruit comes in, how much fruit you’re working with, etc.

Of course Holdredge will reply to my post claiming I showed up two hours a day, when I did show up.

8 business days into my first harvest, I’ve been 8:30 - 5:00 each day. Typical pre-harvest stuff so far – lots of cleaning, vineyard samples, runs to ETS, etc. Looking like our first SB’s will be pulled on Monday, so things may get a little more interesting soon.

8:30-5:00 are banker’s hours.

You work on Zinfandel Lane by any chance?

I’m sure my hours will get less cushy in short order.

Agree with Jim and Linda. No way to predict hours, but there will be lots of long days/nights. Just expect long and unpredictable work hours and lots of cleaning and cleaning and cleaning… But it’s unlike any other work you’ve ever done, very rewarding in the end.

Thanks for the responses… I know you can’t predict hours and I’m not opposed to working long hours or anything (already work about 12-15/ day for myself)… I think Adam answered my question, I was more curious if people initially hire night/ day shifts with the obvious caveat that they can run very, very long or until “the job is done” as one poster put it.

Even seven-figure investment bankers do not toil so hard. Wow.

Which is why we are all 8-figure employees…if you carry it out to the thousandths of a dollar.

When I was an intern, we figured out we were making 10 cents/hour. That was way before the work hour limitations.

Still at work. Trying to press some Viognier. Major press problems.

This calls for more beer.

From Monday to Sunday, I did 99 hours this week. 40 of those Saturday & Sunday. 83 were from Wednesday on. You’d better enjoy the work, or else this would be unbelievable awful.

Wazza matter? I have some experience in such matters.

Not sure. The computer is effed up. It won’t pressurize more than 0.2 bars, so we are having to do it manually. We are going to let it go over night the rest of the way- we are only short about 50 gallons. It is getting down to the low 50’s tonight, so temperature won’t be an issue. If it doesn’t taste right in the AM, we will dump.