“Ban des Vendanges” in Saint Emilion

Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion

“Ban des vendanges” is in all wine regions of France an elaborated festivity.
Wine making traditions are so rooted in French culture that the time of the year that the grape berries are ripen and ready to be picked is an almost national celebration.
Each wine denomination area – group of wineries that belong to the same grape growing territory and therefore can bear its name on their wine bottle labels – opens its grape harvest with celebrations reminiscent of big sporting or cultural events that last in many cases a whole weekend; this is the so called “ban des vendanges”.
In Saint Emilion town and region – a UNESCO listed area just east of Bordeaux – the tradition of the “ban des vendanges” started no later than the 13th century and was resumed in 1948. It culminates with the leader of the “Jurade” – the former administrative council of the town and its wine region – proclaming from the top of the King’s Tower that the grapes are ready to be picked.
While in late medieval times the “ban des vendanges” was one of the many attributes of the “Jurade” nowadays it is the one of the two functions of what is only an honorific body, the other one taking place in spring and consisting in the Jurade giving its opinion about the new wine!
Here are some images from the 2015 Saint Emilion “Ban des Vendanges”
Jurade Comes to the King's Tower
Jurade Comes to the King’s Tower for proclaming the grape picking season open

Jurade comming to King's Tower in Saint Emilion
Members of Saint Emilion Jurade come towards the King’s Tower to declare the grape picking season open

Scarlet dressed members of the Jurade
Scarlet dressed members of the Jurade

Jurade members enter the King's Tower
Jurade members enter the King’s Tower

Members of the Jurade reaching the top of the King's Tower
Members of the Jurade reaching the top of the King’s Tower

Jurade of top of King's Tower
Jurade of top of King’s Tower

Keeping guard at the entrance of the King' s Tower
Keeping guard at the entrance of the King’ s Tower

Jurade members returning to Saint Emilion town hall
Jurade members returning to Saint Emilion town hall

Musical accompaniment by Bordeaux Pipe Band
Musical accompaniment by Bordeaux Pipe Band