Saint Vincent, the official patron saint of winemakers, is celebrated every year on January 22nd. Un-coincidentally, January 22nd is ideal for winegrowers because it symbolizes a mid-point in the vine’s growing cycle. This dormant period is situated in between pruning and when the vines begin to bud break and flower. The Feast of Saint Vincent of Saragossa, also known as Saint Vincent’s Day, is a time for winemakers to reflect on the past year while beginning to prepare for the next year. According to legend, celebrating Saint Vincent’s day brings good luck to the upcoming grape crop and harvest!
Born towards the end of the 3rd century in Huesca, Spain, Saint Vincent grew up in the nearby Saragossa. After being martyred, Saint Vincent became regarded as the patron saint of winemaking in France. There are many different legends regarding how Saint Vincent became “the” patron saint of winemaking, and we share a few of our favorite below.
One includes the French pronunciation of his name, “Vin-sang” which translates into “wine blood.” And yes, wine blood (also known as vine blood) truly occurs during pruning! It should also be noted that “vin” is the French word for wine.
Another legend involves Saint Vincent and his donkey. While wandering through a vineyard, Saint Vincent’s donkey nibbled on nearby vines as Saint Vincent chatted with the workers. During that year’s harvest, the workers noticed that the vines “pruned” by the donkey produced a better crop than the “unpruned” vines. Thus, Saint Vincent and his donkey discovered the art of pruning grape vines.
During the week of January 22nd, winemaking regions in Europe celebrate Saint Vincent and the end of pruning with various ceremonies and festivals (all involving wine of course!) Join us at Pippin Hill this week to raise a glass of wine to Saint Vincent and to bring good luck to this year’s harvest.