Vin Brule

This hot, mulled wine is an Italian winter favorite. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the wine and two cups of water. Add the cloves, cardamon, cinamon sticks, nutmeg, sugar, and the orange zest, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for five minutes to allow the spices to infuse the wine. To serve, ladle the hot wine into individual glasses or mugs. Serves four.

Myth's Notes

Nutmeg is a favorite spice in Italian cooking. I wonder if there is a version of Vin Brule which uses lemon instead of orange. The zest of an orange is the white, inside part of an orange peel. You could use a muslin bag to hold the orange peel and cinamon sticks as well as other spices, or you could leave all of them just floating in the mixture for ambiance.

In Leland's Aradia, there is a chapter which discussed invoking Diama to grow a good vintage of wine.

When I first read Leland's material back in the 1980's, I wondered then why the name of "Diana" instead of "Bacchus" was invoked in the folklore recorded by Leland. Bacchus was the ancient Roman god of wine. He seemed a more appropriate deity then a moon goddess.

However, Diana, goddess of the moon, was associated with rain in Italy--particularly she was petitioned in ancient Roman times to keep the crops from being destroyed by storm. This historical link is critical in understanding Diana's connection with wine.

Grapes grow well in the dry, warm regions of Italy. Different areas of Italy produce excellent wine. Grapes grow well in those certain regions of Italy that have both warm and dry weather. Frost is bad for grapes, but so is a lot of rain. Many varieties of grape are susceptible to rot. Just a few too many sprinkles during harvest time could potentially destroy a good part of the vintage.

Hence--it seems--Diana continued to be invoked into the 19th century to stay the rains from the grapes.

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