A « Confrérie » or a “Guild” in English is an association of artisans or merchants who control their craft in a particular town. Guilds were formed in Continental Europe in the medieval years around 1200 AD as confraternities of workers and were organized in a manner something between a professional association, a trade union, a cartel and a secret society.
When establishing a Guild, the goals of the founder craftsmen were to control the secrets of traditionally imparted technologies and the arts and mysteries of their crafts, to ensure proper training of future members, to educate their members to a strict code of conduct and ethics and to financially support their members and their families in needs like widows, orphans, and the unemployed.
Even though Confréries and Guilds did not survive as a viable model after the French and the Industrial Revolutions thanks to the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith and Karl Marx, we have seen the emergence of a new class of Guilds and Confréries since the 1930’s in France and also in other countries throughout Europe and the Americas.
Nowadays, Confréries barely play a role in the economic and political life of their countries, but, rather, are dedicated to promoting a product or a Region while preserving and reviving traditional festivals, folklore and customs and encouraging the development of tourism in their respective regions.
We, at the Confrérie des Maistres Vignerons de Chénas et Moulin à Vent, have set ourselves the task of promoting the wines (the Crus in French) of Chénas and Moulin à Vent that are two of the most pleasant and enjoyable of the 10 different wines grown in the Beaujolais Region. Our wines are easy to drink, straightforward and made of only one grape variety (gamay). They are neither too intellectual nor too sophisticated. Their taste is often reminiscent of red berries. They go perfectly with grilled meats and stews like beef, pork, lamb, poultry and game, cold meats and pâtés as well as with strong cheeses and fondues, mushrooms and even couscous….. and are great for celebrating and partying. They are joyful, honest, frank and easy, just like the people who grow them and who are welcoming you tonight !