The foundations of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux were laid by a small group of estate owners during a trip to Japan in the early 1970s, with the aim of developing promotional initiatives around the world. It was soon followed by a number of other fine-wine producers who also wanted to extend their reputation beyond their own borders.
Strengthened by its differences and its common values of sharing, the Union now numbers 134 top estates from the most prestigious Bordeaux appellations.
From Tokyo to New York, from Shanghai to London and from Paris to Montreal, the members of the Union pursue their primary objective in cooperation with distributors, brokers and merchants: to meet some 50,000 or so professionals and wine lovers each year around the world and present their latest vintages to them.
Hosted by estate owners or their operational staff, some 80 events take place each year in over a dozen countries. As well as France, of course, they include Europe (Germany, UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, Russia), North America (US and Canada) and Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore). The Union has often played a pioneering role in opening up these markets, especially in Asia.
The Union was also the originator of another highlight of the Bordeaux wine calendar, Primeur Week. An opportunity to reserve fine wines at preferential prices while they are still in the barrel, the annual event draws 5 – 6,000 wine professionals from all over the world.
In addition to its primary promotional mission, the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux is also an ambassador for French culture, in which wine plays a prominent part. Underpinned by the values of sharing and conviviality, these encounters in foreign countries very often lead to long-standing links of friendship.
A word from the President
OLIVIER BERNARD :
“Above and beyond our promotional mission that takes members to foreign countries all year long, over the years the Union des Grands Crus has become very much of an ambassador of French culture – of which wine is an integral part. Held in a spirit of sharing and conviviality, the tastings we organize are much more than mere commercial operations.
There is no doubt about it: thanks to the privileged long-terms links we have forged, we have been able to convey our message of quality around the world. The strength of our grand crus resides in their history going back centuries, but updated from generation to generation… This continuity and a constant calling into question of our methods enable us to progress unceasingly.
We will therefore persevere in our commitment to surpass ourselves and to remain open to the world – the hallmarks of the Union des Grands Crus.”