La Saint Vincent tournante

Saint Vincent, the patron saint of winemakers

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 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.

 

The next Saint-Vincent won't take place in 2021 because of the sanitary crisis, but in 2022. The village of Fleys will host the 52nd edition of the Saint-Vincent tournante du chablisien on the 5th and 6th of February 2022. Find out more

Status of Saint Vincent/Chablis/Bourgogne/Burgundy/French wines/Chardonnay

How did Saint Vincent become the patron Saint of Winegrowers ?

Saint Vincent, the patron Saint of Winegrowers

It seems that during his lifetime, Vincent had little to do with wine or vines. There are many hypotheses put forward to explain why he became the patron saint of winegrowers. Some say he was tortured with tools that looked like a wine press, others that his name is made up from the words vin meaning wine and sang meaning blood, and other still that his saint's day of 22 January is ideal for winegrowers at a period between vinification and pruning when the vines are dormant.

 

But we prefer another theory that suggests that after his death, as a man of the church and a martyr, Vincent rapidly became the object of religious fervor and his body and relics traveled around Europe. To honor Saint Vincent's tunic and golden cross of Toledo - relics brought back from Zaragoza after an expedition in 542 - Childebert I, son of Clovis, had a basilica built, dedicated to Saint Vincent and the Holy Cross. The abbey was named Sainte-Croix-Saint-Vincent. Like many others, it had its own vines and the monks there called upon Saint Vincent to protect the plants and their production.

 

From the 7th century onwards, the name Saint Germain was associated with that of Saint Vincent, and the abbey subsequently became that of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.