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La Saint-Vincent Tournante

"Saint Vincent Tournante" is a traditional festival celebrated in the Burgundy region of France, usually on the last weekend of January. The festival is dedicated to Saint Vincent, the patron saint of winegrowers, and it has been celebrated since the 17th century.

As a teenager living in Chalon-sur-Saône, I would take the train to the village that hosted the festival and discover the history and tradition of wine making. It is one of my fondest memories of my time living in Burgundy.

The festival is named after "tournante," which means "rotating" or "turning" in French. This is because the festival takes place in different wine-producing villages in Burgundy each year. The location of the festival is rotated each year to honor the different winegrowing areas of the region.

The Saint Vincent Tournante is a celebration of the new wine, or "vin nouveau," that has just been produced. It is also a time for the winegrowers to thank Saint Vincent for a successful harvest and to bless the new wine.

During the festival, a procession of winegrowers, dressed in traditional costumes, parades through the streets of the host village. The procession is led by a statue of Saint Vincent, which is carried by the winegrowers. The statue is usually accompanied by musicians playing traditional Burgundian music.

After the procession, the winegrowers gather in the local church for a mass in honor of Saint Vincent. During the mass, the new wine is blessed and tasted.

In the afternoon, the festival continues with wine tastings and sales, as well as traditional Burgundian food and music. Visitors can also take guided tours of the local vineyards and wineries to learn more about the wine-making process.

The Saint Vincent Tournante is a significant cultural event in Burgundy and attracts thousands of visitors each year. It is a celebration of the region's rich wine-making heritage and an opportunity to taste some of the finest wines produced in Burgundy.

Les vendanges

The Vendanges, or grape harvest, in Burgundy is a crucial time for the region's wine industry. It usually takes place from mid-September to early October, depending on the weather and the ripeness of the grapes. Here is a brief explanation of the process

  • Vineyard preparation: Prior to the Vendanges, winegrowers ensure that the vineyards are ready for harvesting. This involves pruning and trimming the grapevines to ensure that only the best quality grapes are picked.

  • Grape picking: Once the grapes have reached the ideal ripeness, they are carefully picked by hand. This is done to ensure that only the best grapes are selected and that the vines are not damaged.

  • Sorting: After picking, the grapes are sorted to remove any damaged or under-ripe ones. This is done either by hand or using a machine.

  • Crushing and pressing: The sorted grapes are then taken to the winery, where they are crushed and pressed to extract the juice. This juice will be used to make the wine.

  • Fermentation: The juice is then placed in vats, barrels, or tanks, where it will undergo alcoholic fermentation. During this process, the natural sugars in the grapes are converted into alcohol by yeast.

  • Aging: After fermentation, the wine is aged in oak barrels for several months or even years. This allows the wine to develop its unique flavor and aroma.

  • Bottling: Once the wine has reached the desired level of maturity, it is bottled and labeled. The wine is then ready to be sold and enjoyed.

The Vendanges in Burgundy is a labor-intensive process that requires a lot of skill and attention to detail! For those traveling with us in September, we will get to see it all in action.

Movie recommendations around wine

Here are a couple of movies that will take you to the heart of wine making families.

Premier Cru - trailer below

Ce qui nous lie - trailer below

Burgundy retreat

Our retreat is currently full. If you are interested in being added to our waitlist, please fill out the retreat registration form on our website here. We will let you know if we have an opening.

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