As promised from France, here is the first post based on images taken, but not previously used, while I was there in September 2013.
Early in the trip, while staying in Montcaret, I was curious to note that grape bunches all appeared to be near the base of the vines. That, it turns out, is because most fields are now harvested by equipment that requires low-hanging fruit.
About three weeks later, when I saw this scene at the side of the road, I stopped to watch, and to photograph. The first thing to catch my attention was the large equipment with a group of people talking. Note the garb on the man closest to the big blue machine.
while I waited.
In Montcaret, I had been told that mechanical harvesting can damage the plants (I have no idea whether or not this is serious damage, but doubt growers would endanger their fields) and sure enough, from time to time, the man driving the machine got out, and removed pieces of vine from the container holding the grapes. Next to the open door you can see one that he had just thrown.
Soon enough the harvester made it back to the side of the field where the truck was parked, positioned itself carefully and raised the back of the harvester,
dumping the grapes into the truck.
the harvesting equipment returned to the field
and I returned to Papillon (new readers, that is my bicycle) and we went on our way.