Commanderie de Bordeaux Afrique du Sud
The Commanderie de Bordeaux, the senior institution amongst the fifteen wine fraternities of Bordeaux, is by and large the commercial equivalent of an embassy for Bordeaux wines. More specifically, and very relevant to the South African chapter, the Commanderie represents a platform and agent for wine education in its broadest sense, instilling the sensible use of wine in the cultural fabric of society, promoting the moderate and responsible social use of wine, identifying with and enhancing wine traditions, and lobbying support for the local wine industry.
Currently there are 82 chapters operating in various regions around the world with most in the United States, Europe and Asia. The South African chapter is the first in Southern Africa and the existence of a Commanderie in SA has done much to enhance co-operation between South African wine and Bordeaux, arguably the most successful wine appellation in the world.
The South African Chapter was established at the La Motte wine estate in Franschhoek on 24 August 2011, with the intronisation of thirty South African personalities, and two honorary members. Members nominated because of their special interest in the wines of Bordeaux, being wine ambassadors per se within the realms of their respective professions which include winemaking, viticulture, wine trading and marketing, cuisine, business, journalism, academics, banking and various other professions.
The Commanderie de Bordeaux has most definitely helped as a boost for the international image of the South African wine industry. It also renders possible interaction with a large international wine audience, amongst others comprised of powerful personalities in the world of wine and business, and essentially every walk of life, not to mention access to infinite resources on research, viticulture, oenology, wine marketing and wine trading. Overall the Commanderie de Bordeaux should also strengthen relationships between France, in particular Bordeaux and South Africa.
Membership to the Commanderie also “expresses, represents, celebrates, and defends not only wine but all the values we hold dear: friendship, cultural enrichment, charity work, cheerfulness, and loyalty to our country.” If, amongst others, people of the mega gravitas of Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg, Danie de Wet, Neil Ellis, Razvan Macici, Duimpie Bayly, Johann Krige, Johan Malan, Anthony Hamilton-Russell and the first honorary commandeur Günter Brözel are involved, to mention but only a few, the local Chapter could indeed, as are indeed the expectations, become one of the most active and influential wine institutions of its kind in the world.