Discours à l’occasion du dîner bourguignon de la Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin à Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok - le 11 décembre 2018
Monsieur Louis-Marc CHEVIGNARD,
Grand Connétable of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin
Cher Dan FITZGERALD, Chevalier du Tastevin
Chers Confrères des Chevaliers du Tastevin
I am delighted and honored to welcome you, Monsieur le Grand Connétable, as well as the Cadets de Bourgogne, on your first visit to Thailand. The occasion reminds me of distant memories when, as a young ENA intern at the Town Hall of Auxerre, I accompanied the Mayor, Jean-Pierre Soisson, in his tours in Puisaye when, ten times a day, we had to pay tribute to the local Chablis. I can assure you it was an unforgettable introduction to the Burgundy wines.
2018 is also the year when for the first time the flag of Thailand – whose colors are the same as the French flag - were flown at the Château du Clos de Vougeot only 10 days ago, in presence of a delegation from Bangkok.
To tell you the truth, I am not surprised by these developments. It has been a long time since Chang beer and cocktails are not the only drinks served in the many chic rooftops and bars à vins of Bangkok.
Thaïs have a new found thirst for wine, especially French wines –in particular Bordeaux and Bourgogne- and we have a market share of 40%, in spite of the very high level of the import duties, from 30 to 40%, and of a system that favors the Australian wines, which benefit from the bilateral agreement with a 0 to 0 duty clause.
But let me tell you that we are working at it and we have good hope that the negotiation of the free trade agreement between Thailand and EU which should resume next year will allow real progress in the sector of wines and spirit.
We are also working, at the Embassy, on the promotion of French wines, with two main operations every year : Tasting France in April, with 80 professionals, and the Concours of the Best Thai Sommelier in French wines in September.
Finally I want to stress that as you probably all know, Thailand is a true wine country. In Khoa Yiai, Hua Hin and even Pattaya you find wineries that produce small quantities of wine, but that have won quite a number of international awards.
Therefore I am not surprised by the growing success of the Bangkok group of the Confrérie, with 30 full members in 2018, 22 formal events since 2013 and a large waiting list for new members.
So my message to you is : thank you and carry on, for the greatest good of France and Bourgogne wines.
Jamais en vain, toujours en vin
And now I would like to ask you to join me in a toast to His Majesty the King of Thailand, Rama the Tenth