The oath of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion
After the seal, we continue our exploration of the symbols of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion.
After the seal, we continue our exploration of the symbols of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion. During the induction ceremony of the new jurats, the oath is an important moment. To understand its origins, you have to plunge back into the history of Saint-Emilion. Follow the guide!
"In Saint-Emilion, always faithful! "
Today, when a new jurat is inducted into the Jurade, they pronounce the following oath: "In Saint-Emilion always faithful". Through this sentence, the winegrower or wine merchant becomes a full member of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion.
This principle of the oath comes from very far. In 1199, the King of England Jean Sans Terre granted the bourgeois of Saint-Emilion the right to form a commune. Through this privilege, they could form an association based on an oath. Initially, this oath served to guarantee peace and assured help to everyone in case of an aggression. Nowadays, the meaning of this oath has evolved, as explained by Jacques Bertrand, the owner of Château Cardau Côte Daugay, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, and jurat of Saint-Emilion since 1975.
"The oath existed before but it was updated in 1948. It shows our attachment to wine but also to generosity. We swear to be always close to each other and truly help each other. "
In the thirteenth century, one is recognized as a jurat when one is part of the commune. To govern the commune of Saint-Emilion, the jurats designate three prud’hommes. Among them, the king chooses one to become mayor.
When the Jurade de Saint-Emilion was reconstituted in 1948, after its abolition during the Revolution, it returned these designations for an honorary purpose. When it wishes to distinguish personalities, it grants for example the titles of Prud'homme de la Jurade, Vigneron d'honneur and Bourgeois de Saint-Emilion and Dame de la Jurade.
The Jurade de Saint-Emilion and the harvest start
If today the Jurade de Saint-Emilion is busy promoting the wines of its four appellations, it is also a link between the present and the past. The former Jurade de Saint-Emilion played an important role in holding the vineyard together. In the fifteenth century, it is known that an important part of the deliberations and decisions of the Jurade concerns wine. In that area, its power is very broad. It regulates conflicts in transactions, deals with the damage caused to the harvest, sets the price of wine or collects the vinée, a tax on the sale of wine at retail.
But the most visible manifestation of the power of the Jurade is exercised through the decision of the harvest start date. Each year the Jurade sets a date from which harvesting is authorized. Thanks to the control of the right maturity of the grapes, it can ensure the quality of the wine. To enforce its authority, the Jurade has a monitoring system. From mid-August, some visitors and guards are assigned to different sectors of the vineyard. In the event of fraud, the Jurade sends out fines.
Nowadays, the grape harvest has become a feast. Every year in mid-September, the jurats de Saint-Emilion climb to the top of the Tour du Roy. From there, dressed in their red robes, they proclaim the start of the harvest. As the jurats say: "In Saint-Emilion, always faithful! "