From Champagne to Bordeaux, French wines are known around the world for their unique taste. But not many of us may know that much of France’s winemaking cultures goes back to Catholic monks. It’s not clear who first introduced winemaking into the country: probably the Greeks of the ancient Italian population of Etruria. But what’s sure is that a pivotal role for winemaking was played by a 4th century Roman soldier-turned-saint, Saint Martin of Tours. After a lifetime spent as a soldier for the Roman army, Martin converted to Christianity, lived as an hermit in Italy and eventually went back to France bringing back precious winemaking knowledge. Still considered the “spiritual father” of French wine to this day, Martin developed some now widely known grapes such as Chenin Noir and Blanc from wild grapes and planted some of the first Vouvray vineyards.
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