ROQUEMAURE and Saint Valentine
The history starts in 1862.
Joseph Antoine Borty owner and wine merchant in Roquemaure placed an order to the new world for a few vines, in order to test their behaviour with the oïdium....One year after , a terrible disease of the vine was propagated, initially on Roquemaure, then in ten years all the vineyard of south of France was destroyed. This disease, which one called at the beginning “the tasks of Roquemaure” proved to be due to a small plant louse ( phylloxera ) and soon the connection was made with the American seedlings of "Clos Borty" .
Was it to make act of redemption? Or more probably to put the vineyard under divine protection… in October 1868, at the deepest point of the crisis, another rich person of Roquemaure ( Mr Richard ) decided to acquire, in Rome, the relics of a protective saint. They were those of " Saint Valentin ".
It was thus on October 25, 1868 when the relics arrived at the village. They were received through pavoized streets with the sound of the galoubets, by a crowd in jubilation, in the presence of Mgr Plantier, bishop of Nimes. They rest since in a reliquary right-hand side of the altar of the collegial .
.... phylloxera, still continued to prevail many years…
but does the divine hand acting there ? … everyboby was witness: the evil set out again from where it had come: The Borty Field in Roquemaure!
One noticed that in the Borty field, in the middle of the devastated french stocks, the American feet remained quite alive, although carrying the plant louses. The solution was found: The graft !
And all wine growers started to graft our own type of vines (Cinsault, grenache, bourboulenc,…) on American stocks such as Clinton.That spent 10 to 15 years of gropings… but the vineyard was saved. In the 1902 all vineyard "gardois" was replanted.
And this is why each year, at the beginning of February, the wee-kend nearest to the saint Valentine celebration day, 7 carts charged with the vine shoots of 7 principal type of vines parts of LIRAC wine (black grenache , syrah, mourvèdre, cinsault, pale, white grenache and bourboulenc) are blessed by the priest of the village, on the main place of Roquemaure.