It’s All Saints Day, a day when Roman Catholics commemorate all the saints who have gone before us. Many people have that one saint or saints they identify with and pray to when they are in need. Even if you don’t have a specific saint, there are a few that are more well-known than others. For example, St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things, and St. Joseph, besides being the father of Jesus, is known to help people sell their homes. It is said you should bury a statue of him in the front yard, facing a specific way, even! We Catholics have interesting customs!
But, today, we think about all the saints and we attend Mass. It made me think, as I walked to the office from class this morning, who is the patron saint of wine? We know there is a God of wine – Dionysus (Greek) and Bacchus (Roman) – but is there a saint? Turning to Google, we find there is. In fact, there is more than one!
The main one appears to be St. Vincent of Saragossa, the patron saint of winemakers, but I also found others E.C. Kraus’ wine blog. According to New World Winemaker, vineyard workers and winemakers in France, as well as much of Europe, adopted St. Vincent as their patron saint in early medieval times but no one is sure why. After all, St. Vincent was actually Spanish! But his name begins with “Vin,” the French word for wine so some believe this may be the reason.
Blog Your Wine lists several more saints who are somehow aligned with wine, winemaking and vineyards, including St. Morand, who is best known for living off a bunch of grapes during the 40 days of Lent, leading up to Easter!
Catholicism and wine have long been intertwined so it’s no surprise that there would be a patron saint or saints tied to wine but I found it interesting that the origins of the alignments were largely unknown! Be as it may, luckily for us, this year All Saints Day falls on #WineWednesday. There’s no better time for Catholics to raise a glass of vino to their favorite saints. I may just stop on the way home and pick up a bottle of Franciscan Estate wine from California’s Napa Valley, which is always a crowd pleaser for around $20. Plus, it’s a nod to my favorite Sisters of St. Francis here in Central New York, who are ALL saints, in my opinion. Cheers!