Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

French ‘brotherhoods’ or associations, dedicated in particular to advancing the cause of various foods and drinks throughout France. More than 150 of them, most of them founded in the second half of the 20th century, are devoted to such various products as macaroons, jams, olives, and local shellfish. A high proportion of them, almost half, are based on specific wines and other alcoholic drinks. One of the most famous is the Confrérie des Chevaliers de Tastevin in Burgundy (see clos de vougeot). The Commanderie du Bontemps du médoc et des Graves, founded in Bordeaux in 1949 by the energetic Henri Martin, is also well known and is the left bank answer to the oldest of these confréries, the Jurade de st-émilion. The latter dates from the late 12th century, when the town councillors of this ancient town were given particular powers and responsibilities by the English crown, which then governed it (see bordeaux, history); it was reconstituted in 1947. These confréries are devoted to an annual programme of pageantry, feasting, robe-wearing, and the intronisation (enthronement) of honorary converts to the cause.