By Jim Boyce | The Jurade de Saint-Emilion recently capped two successful years in China by holding an induction ceremony and establishing its headquarters at Reignwood Pine Valley Golf Club & Resort on the outskirts of Beijing and close to the Great Wall earlier this summer. The day included the unveiling of Reignwood’s publicly bonded warehouse.
The induction ceremony, with a march that featured dressed horses and flapping flags, was followed by a 500-person outdoor dinner paired with St. Emilion wines (see photo gallery below). The inductees are generally “movers and shakers” in China, from movie stars to CEOs, while the guest list featured representatives from the European Union, French Embassy and China’s business community.
The key organizer for the China chapter, launched in 2014 at Reignwood Centre in Beijing, is Nicolas Billot-Grima, who has consulted at China wineries for more than 25 years. If you are reading this and thinking, wait, what the heck is this Jurade thing, here is a brief description:
As guardians of the appellationâ€™s reputation and renown, the Jurade de Saint-Emilion represents the wines of Saint Emilion all over the world. The Jurade is an official body which can trace its origins back to July 8th 1199, when King John of England signed the â€˜Falaise Charterâ€™. This ground-breaking decree gave the townsmen of Saint-Emilion extensive control over the legal, administrative and economic affairs of the town and, later on, over the surrounding lands falling under the Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion. The Jurats, as the members are known, were responsible for the townâ€™s internal and external policies. In return for these new freedoms, the English crown was granted rights to the wines of Saint-Emilion.
As for the publicly bonded warehouse, says Reignwood:
“… this bonded warehouse features a full range of facilitates including the most technologically advanced equipment used to maintain constant temperature and humidity levels, which are in accordance with Chinese national standards for the long-term storage of wine, as well as plenty of storage space specifically designed by a professional team. In addition to the security teams at Reignwood Pine Valley, there are high-tech cameras installed inside and outside the bonded warehouse to guarantee the safety of the merchandise.”
I participated in the 2014 ceremony and made the trek for this year’s event at Pine Valley, a sprawling venue with residences, polo grounds, golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, hotels inspired by Chinese imperial architecture and by (apparently) The White House, helicopter service, and more. Here are a few photos from this year’s event:
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