Whilst tasting in Beaune this week, I met a saint.
This particular saint – let’s call him Vince – has had a colourful recent history but has now fully returned to his day job.
Vince (right) heralds from 1940s Beaune and his day job is to sit in the cuverie of a winemaker for 1 year, occasionally to be transported on the shoulders of locals – typically in freezing, wet, January weather. His home address changes each year when he moves to a new cuverie. But in theory, he’s there to make sure that pest, pestilence, frost and hail do not beset the vineyards of Beaune. Some years he’s less effective than others!
Vince got caught up in some local difficulties around 2002. Apparently, two of Beaune’s winemakers had significant disagreements, the upshot being that one of those winemakers could ‘no-longer find‘ Vince. This was obviously a bit of a problem for locals who didn’t want pest and pestilence etcetera, etcetera, in their vineyards – and of course for those other people who simply enjoyed raising Vince onto their shoulders in cold and rainy January processions. Eventually, in 2005 a new Saint was employed – also let’s call him Vince-2 – to take on 1940s-Vince’s rôle.
After about 15 years, 1940s Vince was found – it was a miracle!
But now there were two Beaune Vinces – what should be done? Eventually, it was decided that 1940s Vince should return to the full-time rôle of wet and cold January processions and trying to keep on top of the weather – oh, and the pests. Don’t, however, feel sorry for 2005 Vince – he also found a full-time job – he now smiles at all the visitors in Beaune’s Musée du Vin!