Our friends at Love My Vouchers have kindly researched who are most well known Patron Saints of Wine. Wine has been produced since 7th century BC and archaeologists have found ancient amphoras in Georgia to prove that statement. It is not surprising that Spanish, German, French, Bulgarian and Greek cultures feature Saint Patrons of Wine very prominently. Here is a bit more information on a few of them.
It was Benjamin Franklin who said that wine is constant proof of God's love for us. This may explain why there are so many patron saints of wine and wine-making. We reveal the most illustrious six, so you have one to toast for every day of the week. What about the seventh day, you ask? Read on, we have that covered.
Saint Vincent of Saragossa
Feast Day 22 January
Vincent was born near Saragossa, in Spain, sometime in the third century. He was ordained as a deacon and acted as spokesman for the bishop. When the Roman emperor Diocletian ordered the persecution of Christians in Spain, Vincent was martyred. His tranquillity under torture led his jailor to convert.
Wine doesn't seem to have played a large role in Vincent's life, however. Some claim that his adoption as a patron saint by French winemakers was thanks to his name beginning with vin (as in the Spanish for wine - vino). His feast day is perfectly timed for the first tasting of the previous year's vintage.
Saint Amand of Maastricht
Feast Day 6 February
St. Amand is the patron saint of vine growers, winemakers and merchants, brewers, innkeepers and bartenders, and the Boy Scouts. The reason is not clear from his biography.
Amand was born in 584 in France to a noble family. He entered a monastery at the age of 20 and spent fifteen years in a cell, apparently hiding from relatives. He subsisted on bread and water. When he emerged, it was to do missionary work, which sometimes resulted in him being beaten and thrown into rivers. In spite of all that, he lived to be 90.
St. Amand is venerated in France and Belgium. There is also a chapel at East Hendred in Oxfordshire dedicated to him. It is at Hendred House and belongs to the Eyston family.
Saint Tryphon the Pruner
Feast Day 14 February
If you need an excuse to open a bottle on Valentine's Day, you can turn to St. Tryphon. The story goes that Tryphon was in the vineyard when the Virgin Mary appeared to him. He may have been a little fuddled. He insulted the Virgin, and in retaliation, she caused him to cut off his own nose with pruning shears.
The truth is more prosaic. St. Tryphon of Lampsacus was a healer and preacher. He was martyred and beheaded at Nicaea around the year 250. Today St. Tryphon is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church. He is the patron saint of gardeners, winegrowers and winemakers. His pruning shears are a symbol of wine and fertility in Bulgaria.
Saint Urban of Langres
Feast Day 2 April
St. Urban is the patron saint of all who work in the wine industry, including coopers. He also protects against bad weather, alcoholism and faintness.
Urban was born in 327 and became the bishop of Langres in 374. Soon after, there were riots and Urban fled from his house. He hid amongst some bushes, much as public figures still do today to escape confrontation. In Urban's case, the bushes were vines and the workers in the vineyard concealed him.
Urban converted the vineyard workers. He then travelled from town to town, always along vineyards, making more converts. St. Urban is venerated by wine makers in Germany as well as France.
Saint Morand of Cluny
Feast Day 3 June
Legend has it that St. Morand survived Lent on just a single bunch of grapes. Forty days is a long time. We are not told if any fermentation of the grapes set in before Easter Sunday. His feats include refilling the casks at his monastery by making the sign of the cross.
Morand was born near Worms, in Germany. Like St. Amand, he left a wealthy home to join a monastery at Cluny. Today he is venerated by growers of grapes and wine makers in the Rhine region of Germany. In France, he is a favourite in Alsace-Lorraine, Burgundy and Champagne. His symbol in Christian art is a bunch of grapes.
Saint Martin of Tours
Feast Day 11 November
St. Martin is the most cosmopolitan of our saints. He is revered in France, Austria, Buenos Aires and even the City of London. St-Martin-in-the-Fields is dedicated to him. He is also the patron saint of the Worshipful Company of Vintners. Said company has the peculiar distinction of sharing ownership of the swans on the Thames with the Queen and the Dyer's Company.
St. Martin was born in either 316 or 336 in Hungary. He grew up in Italy. Conscripted into the Roman army, he found that military service conflicted with his Christianity, and he became one of history's first conscientious objectors. He was the Bishop of Tours, in France, from 371.
There is a legend that St. Martin was responsible for the invention of vine pruning. He had ridden his donkey to a monastery that had a large vineyard. The donkey remained in the vineyard whilst St. Martin sampled the wine, and it passed the time by eating the vines. The monks were astonished when these vines put forth vigorous growth the following season. From then on, they cut back all their vines every year.
Feast day 2 December
Poor Bibiana was imprisoned in a madhouse and then killed. She is the patron saint of the mentally ill and can be invoked against hangovers. Just the thing for a Sunday morning following six days of raising a glass to the saints.
With special thanks to LoveMyVouchers.co.uk, who are big advocates of wine drinking. Of course, you may find the Sunday morning hangover a little easier to bear if you have avoided chemical and pesticide filled wine, and opted for cleaner, healthier organic wine instead. The Organic Wine Club latest offers can be viewed here.