Top 10 wine saints

Throughout mankind’s early history peoples of various civilizations constantly sought to personify the world around them and the food and drink it provided.

Wine, beer, grapes and grain, as fruits of the land, were usually represented by deities connected to fertility or pleasure – sometimes both, with all the scurrilous ideas surrounding Dionysus and co that are now normally associated with worship of those old gods.

With the rise of Christianity, however, the role of gods as patrons was taken instead by the followers of the new religion who became spiritual heads of various trades due to their role in them during their lives and occasionally because of the way they died.

Thankfully none of the saints listed here died because of their dedication to making wine or beer – so we can still assume it be a relatively healthy profession – but several of them did become very literal martyrs for their faith.

What is more, it reveals that the church’s attachment to the drinks industry is deeper than just Dom Pérignon’s “invention” of Champagne and also stands as testament to the age and importance of the trade as part of Europe’s cultural and religious history.

3 Responses to “Top 10 wine saints”

  1. John Freeland says:

    Every January, St.Vincent celebrations take place in Warwick (twinned with Saumur) with the Commanderie du Taste Saumur Warwick chapter. If you would to attend please send me an e-mail.

    • Rupert Millar says:


      Sounds wonderful and we’d love to receive any pictures from the next celebration to put online in our picture round-up.


  2. John Radford says:

    There are two stories (probably both apocryphal) about St Martin of Tours, patron saint of Vintners. The first is that, as Bishop of Tours, he eschewed the pomp of episcopal travel, and toured his diocese on a humble donkey. The story goes that he visited a particular monastery with extensive vineyards and, having partaken of the local produce with some enthusiasm, decided to stay the night there. The poor donkey, tied up in the vineyards and unfed, decided to snack on the vines themselves and munched on the sarments to assuage his hunger.

    The next morning the bishop was horrified to see how many shoots had been eaten, and apologised profusely to the brothers. The following spring, however, the damaged shoots burgeoned forth with unexpected vigour to the delight of the vigneron: the donkey had, inadvertently, discovered pruning.

    Martin is also the patron saint of drunkards: the other story concerns a short prayer muttered by inebriates as they staggered homewards “Ora pro me, beata Martin” (pray for me, blessèd Martin) which gave rise to the phrase amongst non-classicists “All my eye and Betty Martin” meaning a load of nonsense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Regional Account Manager

Scotland, UK

Retail Assistant Manager

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Supervisor

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Sales Advisor

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Manager

Friarwood Fine Wines
SW London, UK

Assistant Manager

Seven Cellars
Brighton, UK

Key Account Manager

MMI Dubai
Dubai, UAE

Head of Supply Chain

Lanson International UK Ltd
London W1, UK

National Account Executive

Home Based working in Central Belt. Glasgow/Edinburgh, UK

Prowein 2018

18th Mar 2018

The City Wine Show

London,United Kingdom
13th Apr 2018

Prosecco Springs

London,United Kingdom
26th Apr 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more