Culture and religion

Around 5,000 years B.C., wild vines were probably cultivated in the regions of present-day Georgia and Iran. They accompanied civilizations and spread with them to Egypt, Greece, the Roman Mediterranean empire, then Northern and Central Europe and, finally, the new worlds.

Associated from the very beginning of cultivation with religious rites, vines and wine participated in the sacred ceremonies of Antiquity and, then, the Christian world. Both through necessity and, sometimes, also with pleasure, the clergy and monks cultivated vines and made wine with art and science (choice of plants, pruning, terroir) and participated in the development of vineyards in Europe, and beyond Europe, throughout the world. In South Africa, the Huguenots introduced grape-growing in the region of Franschhoek.
With the spread of Christianity to the new worlds, the vineyards developed… because wine could not be transported over long distances at that time.

Christian cross
Clos Vougeot, Bourgogne, France

The cult of Saint-Vincent

Celebrated religiously in France every February 22, Saint Vincent’s Day in France also announces the traditional starting date of vine pruning. The Confréries (brotherhoods) dating back to the Middle Ages maintain this professional and religious get-together (among the most famous are the Confrérie des chevaliers du Tastevin au Clos Vougeot, the Confrérie of Saint-Étienne d'Alsace and the Confrérie of la Jurade de Saint-Émilion). Today, there are around a hundred of them in France. A real living slice of the local wine-growing landscape heritage, this celebration is also an opportunity for fraternity, exchanges and the promotion of local terroir wines.