A look back at a weekend of celebrations!
On the weekend of 16th and 17th September 2023, Saint-Emilion woke up to celebrate the Heritage Night and the Harvest Proclamation (Ban des Vendanges). And to mark the occasion, a host of celebrities from around the world were on hand to take part in the weekend’s festivities. Let’s take a look back!
What is the Harvest Proclamation ?
To remind you and explain : in September, usually on the third Sunday of the month, the Harvest Proclamation (Ban des Vendanges) takes place in Saint-Émilion, marking the start of the harvest season.
Historically, the Jurats were sent to the vineyards to check that the grapes had reached perfect ripeness. Once this task was completed, the Jurade de Saint-Emilion had the privilege of declaring the opening of the “Ban“.
Today, this celebration is more symbolic than official. It is part of the Jurade’s heritage. Winegrowers are free to start harvesting before the proclamation of the Ban des Vendanges, but they still cherish this event, which is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the new vintage together!
An exceptional concert and a legendary torchlight procession
The weekend’s festivities kicked off with an exceptional concert in the Collegiate Church of Saint-Emilion.
For the occasion, a great friend of the Jurade and the wines of Saint-Emilion, the famous Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, gave us a magnificent performance. Accompanied by Czech soprano Lada Bockova and Morgane Fauchois-Prado, pianist and vocal coach at the Paris Opera, the tenor performed more than a dozen opera classics and more contemporary music, including the famous “Tonight” from the musical West Side Story.
The concert drew 430 people from all over the world to witness this unique moment.
Later that evening, the Jurats and Chanceliers gathered at the entrance of the medieval town to form the procession.
The procession was led by two future Jurade de Saint-Emilion inductees, Denis Brogniart, the famous TV host best known for Koh Lanta, and Colin Slade, a former All-Blacks and Section paloise rugby player.
Each Jurat was dressed in his or her traditional red dress and white cape and carried a torch as they began the procession through the cobbled streets of Saint-Emilion. Along the way, many spectators gathered to follow the procession and admire the spectacle. The flag-wavers led the way and put on a show all the way to the Tour du Roy.
Then it was time to go back in time: a pyrotechnic show retracing the great moments of our history amazed young and old alike.
2023 Harvest Proclamation
The following day, the Jurats and their guests were expected in the gardens of the Town Hall before heading to the Collegiate Church for the traditional mass and blessing of the grape harvest.
The procession then made its way to the Cardinal Palace’s water pit for the ceremony to induct the new ambassadors of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion. Nearly 50 lovers of Saint-Emilion wines, including General Laurent Lherbette, Maltese Foreign Minister Dr Ian Borg, Gironde Prefect Etienne Guyot, Colin Slade and Denis Brogniart, were invited to put on the red cape and epitoge of the inductees, who bear witness to the long history of the Saint-Emilion vineyards.
After the induction ceremony, the guests headed to the Salle des Dominicains for the Jurade lunch. More than 550 guests were expected to attend, and had the pleasure of tasting a selection of Saint-Emilion wines that accompanied the meal prepared by the caterer Humblot.
2023 Harvest Proclamation - Wines selection
In alphabetic order
See you next year for the 2024 Harvest Proclamation and the 25th anniversary of the UNESCO listing!
You can already add it to your diaries! Book your weekend from 20th to 22nd September 2024 to celebrate a whole host of events in Saint-Emilion.
We’ve got lots of events lined up for you. A weekend of festivities to celebrate :
- The 25th anniversary of the inclusion of the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List,
- The 2024 Heritage Nights in Saint-Emilion,
- The traditional torchlight procession of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion,
- And the Ban des Vendanges 2024!