The cult of St Vincent is still going strong in French wine regions. At the beginning of every year Winegrowers in villages throughout Champagne join together to thank their patron saint for the previous year’s harvest and place their endeavours in the coming year under his sacred protection.
It all started in the 1930s with the founding of the ’Archiconfrérie Saint-Vincent des Vignerons de la Champagne’, a winegrowing fraternity that brought together Champagne brotherhoods across all of the villages in Champagne, from Reims to Troyes and from Châlons-en-Champagne to Château-Thierry.
Originally held in Epernay (Champagne wine capital), the great festival of St Vincent now regularly relocates to other places in Champagne: for instance, Reims in 1998 and 2007 (celebrated first at Reims Cathedral to mark the centenary of the ’Association Viticole Champenoise’ then at the St Rémi Basilica) and Troyes (capital of the Counts of Champagne) in 2000 and 2010.
The fraternity of St Vincent is chaired on equal footing by two co-presidents, Madame Evelyne ROQUES-BOIZEL, representing the Champagne Houses, and Monsieur Maurice VOLLEREAUX, representing the Winegrowers.