21 January 2008

Saint Vincent day celebration

This is the text from my latest Today in France sidebar. I think I'm going to end that sidebar because I want to preserve these articles on the blog. The sidebar text, as I've been doing it, just gets thrown out every day.

According to my calendar, tomorrow is the day devoted to Saint Vincent, the patron saint of grape growers and wine makers. An article in our local newspaper describes a festival held on Saturday in Saint Vincent's honor at Cherverny, 15 miles north of Saint-Aignan.

Giant wine bottles headed up a parade whose grand marshall was a ten-year-old boy named Baptiste. It was his first wine festival, and he carried a traditional wine grower's staff. For the villages of Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny, this was the 22nd annual festival to promote the local vintages.

The lively celebration was organized by the Cheverny brotherhood of vintners (la confrérie des vignerons du cheverny), and more specifically by the group's wine-steward section (la section des Echansons). The Grand Master explained that "in their time, the échansons were wine stewards to the King. But our organization was founded in 1974."

The parade, including a band playing the wine-stewards' theme song, made its way to the church in the village of Cheverny, where a mass was celebrated to the accompaniment of local hunting horns. Afterward, a gargantuan feast was served in the orangerie at the château (the orangery is a greenhouse where oranges are grown).

The Cheverny/Cour-Cheverny wine appellation covers 550 hectares (about 1400 acres) south of Blois and Chambord. Cheverny produces 255,000 cases of cheverny wine annually, and Cour-Cheverny produces another 12,500 cases.

The wines labeled cheverny include whites (Sauvignon Blanc), reds (Pinot Noir - Gamay blends), and rosés (Pinot Noir - Chardonnay blends). Wines with the label cour-cheverny are reds made from the local Romorantin grape.


  1. What's the wine stewards theme song? Great post!

  2. I wish I knew what the song sounds like. Next year we will have to go to the festival and hear it with our own ears.


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