GC sign

Our French Roots

The tradition of assembling wise men and leading citizens into councils ( conseils ) to make important decisions for the good of the commune goes back in France to the Middle Ages. The debates in council, enriched by the differing points of view expressed, thus became a unique tool of reflection and decision.

This principle inspired the formation of the GCVB: in 1952 Henri Martin, a key figure in the Bordeaux wine industry and then President of the powerful Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Bordeaux, had the idea of gathering the various regional brotherhoods (Confrèreries , Compagnons du Bon Temps , etc.) and other organizations promoting Bordeaux wines into a new and separate entity. Each of these 16 brotherhoods was an association of wine growers and traders that undertook to maintain local tradition, to defend and promote its wines, and to communicate their own winemaking principles.

The feat that Monsieur Martin accomplished was to stitch together these independent brotherhoods into a new entity called the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux (GCVB). Completing this federation took time, but in 1975 the GCVB became a non-profit organization under French law with the authority to represent all the appellations of the various Bordeaux wine-producing regions without distinction, both in France and abroad.

The current Grand Maitre of the GCVB is Francis Boutemy.

Commanderie de Bordeaux Singapore

So what is the relationship of the Commanderie de Bordeaux, Singapore, with the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux? That linkage was established by the visionaries in Singapore who wanted to recognize, enjoy and promote the high quality of the wines of Bordeaux. The GCVB Bordeaux understood the importance of overseas chapters. The Commanderie de Bordeaux, Singapore, was thus inaugurated on 7 Nov 1985, with the support and consent of the GCVB Bordeaux.

Admission to the Commanderie is by nomination to the Council. Upon acceptance, a formal induction ceremony is performed, often presided by the Grand Maître himself, which follows centuries-old tradition. Interest in Bordeaux wines is the prime criterion for membership, though those who have already embarked on wine collecting are especially welcome. The Commanderie seeks diversity in membership and welcomes all who loves Bordeaux wines and the company of fellow Bordeaux lovers.

It is our aim to preserve commanderie, civility, conviviality, respect and happiness in functions and in business affairs not just in Singapore but worldwide. Indeed, a conclave of all Commanderies around the world was held in Bordeaux in June, 2006. It is the expressed purpose of the Commanderie de Bordeaux aux États-Unis to strengthen its ties with Bordeaux and with other Commanderies around the globe.

The Commanderie de Bordeaux, Singapore, which is currently led by the Maître, Pang Hee Hon, also seeks to broaden and deepen the education and knowledge of Bordeaux wines by organising thematic wine tastings such as vertical and horizontal tastings.

Our previous Maitre include Jeremy Ramsey, Donald Wong, Keith Kuo, Wong Kok Leong, and David Ong.

The Medallion

All the regional brotherhoods in France have their special regalia. GCVB is no exception and the medallion we wear is part of this regalia. The shape of the shield represents a glass of red Bordeaux wine.

The fleur de lys (the historic symbol of France) in the top segment symbolizes the bouquet of the wine. Below, each of the letters “GCB” is bordered by a crescent moon, recalling the fact that the all-important port of Bordeaux was once known as the Harbor of the Moon.

The golden leopard is the emblem of the historic province of Aquitaine, in which Bordeaux lies. This is the result of the marriage between the dynamic and powerful Eléanore d’Aquitaine and Henri de Plantagenet, who subsequently became King Henry II of England in 1154.

Lastly, the bunch of grapes at the bottom of the emblem denotes the raison d’être of our organization.

“Bordeaux, toujours Bordeaux”

The Official Song of the Grand Conseil de Bordeaux

In 1996, the Grand Conseil de Bordeaux declared a contest for the composition of an anthem in praise of Bordeaux wine. Members, called “Commandeurs,” from around the world were encouraged to participate. Submissions came from Europe, French-speaking Canada, and the United States.

“Bordeaux, toujours Bordeaux” was composed by Eric E. Vogt, Maître of Boston, and presented live at a gathering of the Grand Conseil de Bordeaux at Châteaux de Roquetaillade, June 25, 1998.

Vogt’s anthem was declared a winner on the spot by the Grand Maître Jacques Hébrard, and Vogt was awarded “his weight in Bordeaux wine.” Fortunately the weigh-in occurred after dinner.

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Bordeaux, toujours Bordeaux (Song)

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Bordeaux, toujours Bordeaux (Sheet Music)

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