Nenad Trifunovic

The Ultimate Guide How to turn must into wine in a day

wine ceremony

The day when must traditionally turns into wine is celebrated all over Croatia. In order to perform the ritual properly, wine makers and wine lovers require help. It comes in the shape of much anticipated protagonists: the judge, the bishop, the godmother and the godfather of the wine.

This ritual we are all so interested in is always performed on the 11th of November. Year after year. How could it be, we wondered. Is it some kind of a scheme to confuse the weary travellers?

Or is it indeed a divine intervention? 11/11 is celebrated as St. Martin’s Day in Croatia, and it is a widely popular festivity. It is a celebration of the earth’s bounty to humans. And to be fair, an overwhelming bounty for many, which is why every year traffic police eagerly awaits a new record holder in alcohol breath test.

Saint Martins DaySaint Martin is worshiped all around Europe as the patron saint of winemakers. Based on personal experience, this is especially the case in Croatia. In Croatia, St. Martin’s Day is also known as Martinje. The very word brings a smile on the face when uttered.

Perhaps because there is usually a feast involved. Well, not usually, almost mandatory. But the ingredients may vary. Goose, turkey, duck, pork, or some other meat… Usually a roast, also mandatory.

The essential phenomenon for most Croatians here is the transformation of must into wine. Of course, nobody thinks it really happens in that moment of baptizing the barrel. But there is a strong symbolic gesture in this. Something unclean and impure is now blessed. As many of the blessings are shared among the gathered wine lovers, we cannot help but wonder if these guys are aware that Saint Martin was a Roman soldier who became a bishop in the French town of Tours.

wine ceremonyHe died on November 8, 397, and was buried three days later, on November 11. So, it’s actually the Funeral Day of Saint Martin being celebrated. Overcome by the festivity and the blessings in the form of young wine, many participants in the celebration later feel like it’s their own funeral.

According to folk customs, the winter is here. St. Martin’s Day marks the end of the agrarian year and the birth of new wine. Therefore, in order to turn the grape must into wine, the process symbolically ends here to start all over again with pruning and weeping, bud break, flowering, fruit maturation, veraison, harvesting, fermentation… all it takes to turn the must into wine in a day.

We wish a happy Name Day to all the Martins and Martinas, and offer words of wisdom to everybody celebrating – do not drive today.

Sretno Martinje!!!

saint martins day

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