The Saint Vincent Tournante
The societies or brotherhoods of Saint Vincent are behind the associations based on solidarity and mutual aid. The first of these appeared in the Bourgogne region in the 18th century, but they mainly developed during the 19th century in various villages. This was how winemakers pooled their labor and tools in order to help a neighbor who was sick or injured to work his or her vines and to make the wines. This philosophy of mutual aid continues today, as the local newspapers report each year.
Celebrated every 22 January, Saint Vincent is the patron saint of winemakers and he symbolizes the solidarity between them. To honor this, and to share some convivial moments, the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin created the first Saint Vincent Tournante in 1938, going from village to village in the Bourgogne region.
Before the creation of this winemakers' festival, the statue of Saint Vincent passed every year through the villages from one family to another. It was considered a great honor to welcome Saint Vincent into one's home.
In the same spirit, the Confrérie des Piliers Chablisiens launched the first edition of the Saint Vincent Tournante in the Chablis region in 1966. Since the, each of the 19 wine-producing villages takes it in turn to organize this wine festival which brings together tens of thousands of participants.
When its turn arrives, each village strives to put on a worthy reception. The villagers work for months to make flowers and other fancy street decorations for the occasion. But there would be no Saint Vincent without religious ceremonies, parades, official speeches and sacraments. And no Saint Vincent would be complete without a banquet and an opening party in the cellars. In keeping with the local tradition, the winemakers from the village give part of their vintage to make the cuvée de la Saint Vincent, the wine which is drunk throughout the festivities.