Roussillon is a region at the Southeast of France, close to the Pyrenees mountain range. Vine has been cultivated for wine in this region for at least 3000 years.
In the 14th century, the Kings of Aragon, who reigned over the region, granted some privileges to the winegrowers, i.a. by a patent letter of 1374 which was the founding act of the « Commende Majeure du Roussillon ». These privileges were maintained until the French Revolution which disbanded the wine brotherhoods at the end of the 18th century.
The winegrowers of Roussillon, proud of their history, reconstituted the Order in 1965. Since then, the Dignitaries of the Commende Majeure du Roussillon have since inducted many French and international V.I.P., as well as hundreds of wine knights during regional wines festivals (Vins primeurs, Christmas Muscat, World Grenache Day,…) or at their annual Grand Chapter held at the Palace of the Kings of Majorca in Perpignan, the capital city of Roussillon.
On 23 June 2018, an exceptional Chapter, presided over by the Grand Master of the Commende, Jean-Claude Estirach, was held at Vilatenim, near Figueres in Spain, just across the border. 21 wine and gastronomic brotherhoods of the greater region Occitanie were present.
The Chapter welcomed also the presence of Alan Bryden, president of the F.I.C.B. and of Carlos Martin Cosme, president of the European Congress of wine and gastronomic brotherhoods (C.E.U.C.O.). 10 new Honorary Dignitaries were inducted, chosen by the brotherhoods of the region, including Alan Bryden, on behalf of F.I.C.B.
The newly inducted, namely the « Commendataires », passed successfully the pleasant wine tasting test, using the “pourou ”, a traditional local glass wine pourer, and then made the oath to « commit to maintain the duty and the right of vine and wine and their faithfulness to the land of Roussillon », before being cheered by their brothers in wine.
The Chapter gave the opportunity to recall that Perpignan has been named European wine city for 2019. The Commende will take an active part in the events organized all around the year by the Comité interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon and other regional organizations and authorities : an important year for the wines of the region which will draw to the Catalan capital many wine experts and lovers, as well as the media. Among others, will take place in Perpignan the Grenache World Contest 2019. An international gathering of wine and gastronomic brotherhoods is also foreseen.
Site of the Commende Majeure du Roussillon : www.commendemajeureroussillon.com
Facebook page : www.facebook.com/commendemajeure66
Site of the Roussillon wines’ producers : www.vinsduroussillon.com/