Cheers, Saint Martin!
According to Catholic lore, St. Martin of Tours (316-397) tried to avoid his pending appointment as bishop by hiding in a stable full of geese. However, these birds made such a racket that the people found his location. Martin might have lost that game of duck-duck-goose, but he has secured his place in saintly history as the patron saint of beggars, Burgenland, geese, horse men, horses, hotel-keepers, innkeepers, quartermasters, cavalry, equestrians, France, reformed alcoholics, riders, soldiers, tailors, vintners, wine growers, and wine makers.
On a press trip to the Burgenland region of Austria, I toured the Winery Gesellmannand learned that on St. Martin’s Day (November 11), the winemakers cap off the gourmet festival Pannonian Autumn by opening their cellar doors to the public.
Those who want to get up close and personal with their favorite vintages might want to think about spending the night in the Winery Heinrich. Here you can book a room and actually nestle yourself within close proximity to the wine vats.
As expected, one can find area restaurants serving goose entrees, a fitting payback for those beasts who couldn’t stop bellowing.
Those wanting to take in even more saintly spirits can check out this handy list featuring Martin and other patron saints of wine.
Becky Garrison is a satirist/storyteller whose most recent book is Roger Williams’s Little Book of Virtues (Wipf & Stock, March 2020). Also, she edited Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge and Resilience (Transgress Press, 2015). Her six books include 2006’s Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church (PW, starred review).