Gemeinde Rödelsee



The Winegrower’s Year and the Calendar of Saints

Only few saints, such as St. Urban, are directly associated with wine due to their biographies or martyrdoms. Most saints that played (or sometimes still play) a role in winegrowers’ customs were venerated because their feast days were also critical days in the winegrower’s year. On these days, the weather was indicative of success or failure, or certain work steps had to be completed.

Sunshine on St. Vincent’s Day (22nd January) was thought to indicate a bountiful harvest. On Candlemas (2nd February), winegrowers started pruning their grapevines.

Clear weather on St. Matthias’s (24th February) was hoped to show that early spring would not be too hot. St. George’s (23rd April) was considered particularly crucial: The vines should not have sprouted by then, otherwise night frost might harm them.

Cold spells in May, associated with St. Pancras, St. Servatius, St. Boniface and St. Sophia (12th to 15th May), the Ice Saints, were very dangerous to the young shoots. St. Urban’s (25th May) marked the end of this critical period. Sunny weather on this day meant good wine.

In June and July, winegrowers hoped that saints would protect them against too frequent rain. When it rained on St. Barnabas’s (11th June) or St. Jacob’s (25th July), they feared a poor harvest. St. Jacob’s was also the right day for cutting back long shoots, so that the grapes would enjoy sunlight and warmth.

Warm, sunny weather on St. Lawrence’s (10th August) or Assumption Day (15th August) promised a good harvest. St. Bartholomew’s (24th August) showed what the weather would be like in the final ripening season. Every sunbeam was welcome; it would make the grapes sweet. However, rain on St. Matthew’s (21st September) indicated a rainy autumn that might still ruin the harvest. Only at the end of the harvest were the winegrowers’ worries over. But not for long. St. Martin’s (11th November) was critical again: Rainy weather on this day meant lots of grapes next year.


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