The Feast of Saint Vincent

As the hush descends over the Christmas and New Year celebrations, in the midst of the winter when days are cold and nights long the new Croatian wine year is now beginning.

St. Vincent’s Day falls on 22 January, the mid-point between the onset of dormancy and bud-break in our vine’s growing cycle; when wine makers determine just how good the previous vintage is. The perfect time to reflect, celebrate another successful harvest and contemplate the promise of the new growing year. It is time to brave the harsh, cold winds and prune the vines, getting them ready for new growth in the spring.

St. Vincent of Saragossa is the patron saint of winemakers and each year a festival dedicated to his name is held in all wine-growing regions of Croatia. Legend says Saint Vincent died so we can have good wine… More honestly, the 3rd century Spanish martyr died for his faith, after some serious torture involving iron hooks and being roasted on a red-hot gridiron. Since his death, he’s become the patron saint of wine and wine-makers. In Croatia, the Feast of Saint Vincent of Saragossa is celebrated in all regions. It’s called “Vinkovo”, “Vincekovo”, “Vincelovo” or “Vinceška”, depending where you are in the country.

In Ilok, one of Croatia’s best-known wine hills, this year’s celebration and festivities are over three days, 20-22 January 2017. Local winemakers will be showing off their wines in a large marquee, there will be blessing of the vineyards, live folk music performances, dancing, regional culinary specialties cooked over open fires, and of course plenty of local wine!

Wishing you all a happy Feast of Saint Vincent of Saragossa. Raise a glass of your favourite Croatian wine.

Živjeli!” (Our Croatian toast meaning to live, exist, be alive)