In the robe of a Saint-Emilion Jurat!
The red robe of the Saint-Emilion Jurats is not a simple garment. It is a link between the medieval Jurade and the one restored in 1948.
The red robe of the Saint-Emilion Jurats is not a simple garment. It is a link between the medieval Jurade and the one restored in 1948. It represents the strength of the Saint-Emilion wine-growers: to rely on the past, to build the future. To understand it, we plunge into a historic day: 18th September, 1948.
"Saint-Emilion has revived his Jurade"
On a full page, the Sud Ouest newspaper announces it in 1948: "Saint-Emilion has revived its Jurade". The special envoy describes the Jurats and their proud appearance, dressed in their "red robes, embellished with the white chaperon". Their first visit is to the mayor of Saint-Emilion. It is a logical step. In the Middle Ages, the community of Saint-Emilion was headed by a mayor. In the twentieth century, the mayor no longer had the same functions as in the thirteenth century, but it was before the mayor that the new Jurats came to take the oath.
Today, the Jurade de Saint-Emilion inducts new members in June or mid-September for the grape harvest. But in 1948, all the Jurats had to be inducted. The medieval Jurade had indeed been dissolved at the time of the French Revolution. In 1948, it was reconstituted, with the idea of making it a communication tool serving wines. Thus, the mayor of Saint-Emilion solemnly addresses the Jurats:
"Swear to work for the good reputation of your city and its vineyard in the tradition of honor of your fathers".
The Jurats then reply "We swear".
Progress is the evolution of tradition
After the ceremony at the town hall, the Jurats march through the city. The show is astonishing. The South West special envoy wonders if he is "always in the evil atomic age", when he feels like he is reviving the "lush Middle Ages that the poets of the fables sang”. The Jurade de Saint-Emilion has one foot in tradition, the other firmly anchored in the present. In 1948, Abbey Bergey, pastor of Saint-Emilion, perfectly sumed up the situation. At the Collegiate Church, he explains that the Jurade represents progress, because "progress is the evolution of tradition ". This phrase was engraved in the mind of Jacques Bertrand, one of the oldest Jurats.
"This sentence has an extraordinary meaning, because in Saint-Emilion we have always been innovative. The first wine trade union was created in France, with the will to work together. We were also one of the pillars for the creation of Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée. It is modern, while relying on our values."
For each Jurat, it is also the sense of the Saint-Emilion's Jurats' red robe: have benchmarks, to advance better.