La Connétablie de Guyenne

Tasting great wines and dancing to lively music played by colorful locals is all part of a special Wine Festival orchestrated by the city of Bourg, exclusively for guests of AmaWaterways who travel with us on our brand new “Taste of Bordeaux” itinerary. High above the city from our vantage point at the Maison du Vin, we could look down toward the Dordogne river and see our beautiful ship, the AmaDolce, sparkling in the early Spring sunshine.

One of the hallmarks of our brand is to create just such authentic experiences where our guests are able to interact with the locals instead of just passing by. This also benefits the local economy which in turn creates an even stronger bond with our European friends throughout the years.

Last month while enjoying this celebration of wine with our guests on the inaugural sailing, we were surprised and delighted by the arrival of members of the Connetablie de Guyenne, who came to honor us with a beautiful ceremony inducting AmaWaterways into their prestigious vinous brotherhood.

Created in 1952 after the Jurade de St Emilion (1948) and the Bontemps du Médoc (1950), the Connétablie de Guyenne is the third oldest vinous brotherhood in Bordeaux. The brotherhood’s territory covers 5 appellations: Côtes de Bordeaux, Côtes de Bourg, Premières Côtes de Blaye, Entre-Deux-Mers, and Graves de Vayres. Each appellation has its own section, although the same costumes are worn and ceremonies followed. The word connétablie revives the title (if not the functions) of a very ancient Bordeaux institution going back to the time when the province of Guyenne was attached to the French crown – prior to owing allegiance to the English king further to the second marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204). The region once again came under French rule when the Battle of Castillon ended the Hundred Years’ War in 1453.

The actual ceremony began with a procession of the members bearing the Connétablie’s banner, to the sound of hunting horns. The Grand Maître opened the event and the Chancelier read the Charter out loud. Then the Maître de Requête introduced Rudi and me, and we were then approved by the Connétables. The Officier Jaugueur dubbed us each with his sacred velte and we were asked to drink some wine to symbolize our loyalty and friendship. A beautiful medal was bestowed on us along with a certificate and we were asked to sign their guest book.

Afterward we were all invited by our new friends to continue the celebration with dancing and more wines from the Bourg appellation. A memory we will cherish for a lifetime!

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