The Jurade of Saint-Émilion, a seven decades old wine fraternity, now has a new member: Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg. He was inducted into the Jurade on Tuesday, 22 October, during a surprise ceremony.
Borg was visiting Saint-Émilion for the first time, in the company of friends, when one of them – Henri Leconte, tennis player and Jurade member – sprang the surprise.
The Jurade traces its roots back to a royal charter issued in 1199 by John Lackland, King of England, which granted political, economic and legal rights to the aldermen (or “jurats”) of Saint-Émilion. In exchange, English merchants were given the right to buy the wines of Saint-Émilion before anyone else.
The Jurade lasted until the French Revolution, when it ceased to exist. It was revived by a small group of winegrowers in 1948. Today, its members act as ambassadors for the region and swear to do their utmost to guarantee the authenticity and quality of Saint-Émilion’s wines.
They also organise a Fête de Printemps (Spring Festival) in June and Ban des Vendanges (Vintage Festival) in September every year, when members of the Jurade parade through the town in the traditional crimson robes of the aldermen of the past.
According to a statement from the Jurade, Björn Borg knew nothing about the planned induction. He was in Saint-Émilion with friends, to spend time in the vineyards. But, as it turned out, he also spent time dressed in a red and white cape, swearing to uphold the image of Saint-Émilion’s wines.
Borg is an internationally renowned tennis star, who has won more than 60 tournaments, and was named the world’s number one player in 1977. After he retired from tennis in 1983, he turned to other activities, including creating a range of clothing.
Do you have a news tip or something to announce? If so, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
To stay up to date with the news, subscribe to our newsletter. For in-depth, international content, subscribe to Meininger's Wine Business International magazine, available in print and online.