The 22nd of January sees us raising a glass to a very special saint; St Vincent. St Vincent is the patron saint of winegrowers and his feast day is celebrated with much aplomb in Burgundy, where a celebration of the saint is spread over the last weekend in January.
In Croatia his day is celebrated with church services, blessing the vines, bonfires, music and the odd glass of wine or two...or three. According to legend the holy man was walking the countryside with his donkey when he saw some men tending the vines that produced the local wine.
Saint Vincent stopped for a quick chat and, whatever it was they were discussing so interested the saint that he took his eyes of the donkey. The donkey nibbled every vine within its reach reducing them to ground level. Presumably a rather red-faced saint and his rather plump pet beat a hasty retreat.
However, the vineyard workers made an important discovery: the vines that the donkey had nibbled were more fruitful than those which had been left to grow. From then on pruning vines became part of vine husbandry.
In the UK it is thought that if the sun shines on St. Vincent’s Day, the rest of the year will be mild.