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Martini (St Martin's Day)

Name for a church festival that is celebrated in Central Europe, particularly in Bavaria, Thuringia and Austria, on the day of the funeral of St Martin of Tours (316-397). The day is characterised by numerous customs such as St Martin's goose dinner (Martinigansl), St Martin's procession and St Martin's singing. In Austria, the wine from this year's grape harvest is served for the first time on this day as a "Heuriger"; the previous vintage thus becomes a so-called "Alter". This church festival celebrated as "Martini" replaced the Germanic autumn festival.

Wine baptism

The wine baptism or wine blessing of the new vintage also takes place on Martini on 11 November and is celebrated in many wine-growing communities. The Bible, Jesus Sirach, chapter 31, verses 25 to 31, is often used as the reading text. Here is an extract from it: What life is there who does not drink wine? It was made from creation for the joy of men. Bitterness of spirit is wine drunk in strife and anger. Before the consecration, wine may not be toasted, but instead of the usual toast "Cheers", "Meal" should be used. Similarly, before the baptism of wine on St Martin's Day, the wine glass may only be held with the left hand.

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Dr. Christa Hanten

For my many years of work as an editor with a wine and culinary focus, I always like to inform myself about special questions at Wine lexicon. Spontaneous reading and following links often leads to exciting discoveries in the wide world of wine.

Dr. Christa Hanten
Fachjournalistin, Lektorin und Verkosterin, Wien

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