The 48th F.I.C.B. International Congress has taken place in Reims and in the Champagne area from 29 May to 1 June 2014, with an extension on June 2 and 3. It was an outstanding event as F.I.C.B.’s 50th Anniversary was celebrated on this occasion. It was organized by the Conseil des Echansons de France, who designated M. Jean-Jacques Hervy as the 2014 Congress’ President.
The highlights of the Congress, attended by 180 participants from 10 countries, were :
- the academic session, with keynote presentations on the Champagne region and the processes for proucing its famous sparkling wines;
- the procession in brotherhood attire in the streets of Hautvillers, where “art in the street” was celebrated, introduced by the “Fanfare de Dom Perignon”, the local band and followed by a reception offered by the Mayor, Mr. Lopez;
- the “tasting of the wines of the world” session, held at the Halles de Boulingrin in Reims, where some one hundred diffferent wines brought by the participants were proposed and which coincied with teh “fêtes jéhanniques” celebrating Joan of Arc;
- the Sunday mass at the abbatial church of Hautvillers, celebrated by Father Xavier Ley, chaplain of the Conseil des Echansons de France, with the participation of the Choir of Epernay “Les Cénelles”;
- the tribute paid to Dom Perignon, after the mass, outside this church were he is burried, for which a 2004 vintage of Dom Perignon was shared;
- the visit of the prestigious cellars G.H. Mumm followed by a superb gala dinner.
During the Congress, 22 participants were inducted in the Conseil des Echansons de France and some 15 diploma of “sabreur de champagne ” (swordering of champagne bottles) were awarded.
The Board of Administration of F.I.C.B. met at Reims on 29 May 2014, in particular to proceed with the nominations to the Executive Committee following some resignations or end of mandates. M. Claude Josse, who has been the Chairman of F.I.C.B. for the past 25 years, had informed the General Assembly at its meeting last January, that he wished to hand over the position after the 2014 Congress. Alan Bryden, who was already first Vice-President, was unanimously appointed to his succession. Alan Bryden will take the office on 15 June 2014. He has been for 15 years a member of the Conseil des Echansons de France, where he currently holds the rank of Grand Officier. He has dedicated his professional life to the promotion of quality in industry, services and public administration, for which he has held eminent executive positions at French, European and international level. Claude Josse was named honorary president, the Board having praised his contribution to the federation, as well as that of Claude Rufini, secretary general, and of Monique Josse, deputy secretary general, who are also stepping down.
The Board formally accepted the invitation of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine of the U.S.A. to hold the 49th F.I.C.B. Congress in California from 8 to 11 June 2016, centered on the Sonoma and Napa valleys, with an extension until 14 June in this region. Pat Pingitore is chairing the organizing committee.