The Commanderie de Bordeaux in New Zealand was established in Auckland on the 7th of September 2018. It became the 88th Commanderie de Bordeaux throughout the world.
The history of the Commanderie de Bordeaux goes back to 1952 when Henri Martin, then President of the powerful Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB), had the idea of gathering the various regional brotherhoods (confrèreries, compagnons, jurades) and other organisations promoting Bordeaux wines into a new and separate entity. That new entity was called the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux (GCVB).
Completing this federation took time, but in 1975 the GCVB became a non-profit organisation with the authority to represent all the appellations of the various Bordeaux wine-producing regions without distinction, both in France and abroad.
The first chapter of the Commanderie de Bordeaux was established in New York in 1959. Since that time there have been 32 more chapters in the US, the largest of any country in the world.
Bound to respect certain rituals, the Commanderies de Bordeaux are made up of both wine enthusiasts and professionals from the wine trade who meet in their respective countries to increase their knowledge and appreciation of the various appellations in the Bordeaux wine region.
Every member is inducted as a “Commandeur” and receives a diploma and a medal from whomever has been appointed by the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux to hold the office of “Maître” or in other words the chairman or president. The Maître is always a highly respected person and can in no circumstances be a wine professional.
The Commandeurs get together periodically for dinners (called “parlements” from the French verb parler, to talk) and other events in order to enjoy, discuss and learn more about the wines of the various Bordeaux regions in their different vintages. Through their passion for these wines, the Commandeurs become emissaries of the Bordeaux winemakers with the goal of broadening the appreciation of the wines of Bordeaux in New Zealand.
In essence, the Commanderies are embassies of Bordeaux wine. On an international scale, they play the important role of relaying information and passing on their enthusiasm about Bordeaux wine. The Commanderies also help to set permanent relationships between Bordeaux and the countries where Commanderies are established.