Our wine brotherhoods promote expertise in wine tasting. In addition to the traditional induction or enthronement which usually comprises some kind of wine tasting test, several wine brotherhoods have implemented rating procedures which allow to distinguish and rate their members in relation to their wine tasting skills.
This is the case with the Académie du Cep of the Canton of Geneva (Switzerland). All its members wear a medal held by a ribbon. The colour of the ribbon signals their knowledge in recognizing grape varietals. Indeed, each year, the members are challenged. Newcomers can become “Compagnons bons dégustateurs” (good wine taster companion), if they can recognise three grape varietals out of five glasses presented during the wine tasting contest. They then exchange their yellow and red ribbon for a blue one. If they make no mistake, they are directly promoted to the rank of “Ecuyer” (Squire). If this performance is repeated three times, the member becomes “Chevalier” (Knight) and the ribbon is changed from green to red. At the next contest, a knight who has again recognized three times in a row five out of five grape varietals becomes “Maître Chevalier” (Master Knight). He/she keeps his/her red ribbon and receives in addition a “grape bunch” to pin on to the ribbon. The Master Knights may check their skill each year and receive additional “grape bunches” and raise in grade. Master Knights become Master Knights 2 and then 3, etc., so that the number of “grape bunches” on the ribbon testifies both skill and seniority in the brotherhood.
The Académie du Cep has thus many wine tasting experts among its membership and some regularly take part in the Jury for the yearly Selection of the Wines of Geneva.
(article based on material provided by Jacques Jeannerat, Grand Master of the Académie du Cep)
Web site of Académie du Cep : www.acaducep.ch
Selection of the Geneva Wines see : www.geneveterroir.ch/fr/news/selection-des-vins-de-geneve
Jacques Jeannerat, Grand Master of Académie du Cep