The French word “confrérie” means brotherhood and is used extensively for cultural or religious partnerships between groups of people. The Confrérie has a long history in Tokaj. It was originally set up in 1987 by the state winery, Tokaj Kereskedőház, as La Confrérie “Vinum Regnum, Rex Vinorum”(King of Wines, Wine of Kings) de Tokaj. The members goal was to promote the wines and gastronomy of the Tokaj wine region.
Starting in 1999 La Confrérie “Vinum Regnum, Rex Vinorum” de Tokaj was managed by Tokaj Renaissance, a producers’ association, and the twenty Tokaj Renaissance members became members of the Board. Tamás Dusóczky, who has worked internationally to rebuild the image of the Tokaji wine since the fall of Communism, received the majority of votes and thus became Grand Maître. After 15 years of service, Tamás recently stepped down but remains an honorary board member.
The most recent reincarnation of this group is the Confrérie de Tokaj (Tokaji Borlovagrend) which was formed in 2012 by 100 founding members, many of whom are winemakers. In addition to reforming the Confrérie and initiation ceremony, members travelled to Burgundy to learn more about famous auction Hospices de Beaune, and organize their own annual wine auction. The first Great Tokaj Wine Auction was held in 2013. Tokaj’s top producers craft exclusive lots of high quality wine for sale at the auction. A percentage of the proceeds are used to invest in the next auction and for the benefit of the Tokaj wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002.
The president of the Confrérie de Tokaj is István Szepsy, the vice president Samuel Tinon and the Grand Maître Dr. Tibor Kovács. As mentioned, Tamás Dusóczky, Grand Maître from 1990 to 2015, remains an honorary board member.
This year’s auction was held April 25th and raised just under $112,000! Two members of our team, Frank and Eric, had the privilege of not only attending, but being inducted as members of the Confrérie! With the 22 new members inducted this year, the group now numbers 150 professionals committed to sharing their passion for Tokaj with the world.
Special thanks to the Confrérie de Tokaj for providing us with the history of their organization and also the wonderful photos featured in this piece!