La Saint-Vincent Tournante

A celebration rooted in the traditions of Burgundy

Who says that winter does not have interesting festivals and tourism? This is a truly local flavour if you like wine, and want to see burgundy and in a different eye, La “Saint-Vincent Tournante” (the rotating Saint-Vincent) is a wine festival that takes place the last weekend of January. It changes Burgundy wine village every year.

What’s in a name?

Saint-Vincent is one of the patron saints of winegrowers. And it is “Tournante”, because it involves a village on rotation, being decorated for the occasion, with stands offering wine tasting.

The Saint-Vincent Tournante as we know it today was revived in 1938 from an old tradition dating from the middles ages that had declined over the centuries. The “Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin” (Brotherhood of the Knights of Tastevin) re-imagined it as an major rotating event that would take place each year in a different village  in wine-growing Burgundy, hence its name of Saint-Vincent Tournante.

The choice of Saint-Vincent as patron saint of winegrowers is still quite a mystery today. According to legend, Saint-Vincent would have stopped at the edge of a vineyard to exchange a few words with the winegrowers and during this time his donkey would have grazed around. In the next harvest, the vine grazed by the donkey would have produced more than the others, so Saint-Vincent was adopted as protector! Another saying is simply that Vincent sounds like “Vin Sang”, the blood of the vine….

This interesting festival perpetuates the Burgundian values ​​of quality, hospitality and mutual aid and is the opportunity to discover the great wines of Burgundy in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The weekend of Saint-Vincent Tournante

Each edition of Saint-Vincent is an opportunity to showcase a wine-growing village which hosts the statue of the patron saint of winegrowers for one year. The selected village prepares this festival throughout the year, creating a decor and specific activities.

The Saint-Vincent starts early in the morning and with a formal parade through the vines of the different brotherhoods each carrying their statues and banners bearing the effigy of Saint-Vincent, and continues with the ceremony, a religious service in the parish church, and finally enthronements by the brotherhoods

The second part, more convivial, is the occasion for traditional banquets and festive events. The tasting of the Saint-Vincent tournante cuvée (s) take place in different parts of the village of the year. The highlight of the show is of course the opening of the cellars for tastings of local wines * (* always in moderation).

A long standing evolving tradition

The Saint-Vincent evolved over the years. In the 1990’s -2000 it grew to quite large over 100,000 to 200,000 people over two days, but has returned to its cosy 20-40,000 people in recent years.

Each year has a name, and a poster (since 1971), and if you’d like a peek at them, they are on display at the Château du Clos de Vougeot. It has its engraved glass

The 2021 edition was postponed due to Covid, a first time since 1947, but it’s a fun and very local thing to try and it is still foreseen for 29 to 30 January 2022 in Puligny-Montrachet, Corpeau, Blagny

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