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Egon Müller New President of PRIMUM FAMILIAE VINI (PFV)

Posted: Friday, 08 July 2016 18:44


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Egon Müller New President of PRIMUM FAMILIAE VINI (PFV)

July 08: The clock seems to have turned full circle as Primum Familiae Vini (PFV), the association of 11 internationally renowned and well-established family-owned wine companies with strong routes, once again elected Egon Müller who was the President of one of the most prestigious wine family associations in the world when PFV travelled to the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai in February 2006 on their way from Singapore, for a memorable tasting, taking over from Mireia Torres as the President till July 2017

Click For Large ViewThe customary, rotating, annual change of guard took place in Vilafranca where Bodega Miguel Torres hosted the annual meeting of Primum Familiae Vini (PFV) for 3 days. Seventy members of different generations from France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Spain met, ostensibly also to strengthen their bonds, exchange their experiences and knowledge, and more importantly transfer the traditions and values of a family-owned winery to the next generation-besides electing the next President.

Mireia Torres, part of the family's fifth generation and Director of Research-Development-Innovation (RDI) and who is also President of the Jean Leon and Torres Priorat wineries, was the President during 2015-2016. Her father, Miguel A. Torres, had formed the association in 1993 with Robert Drouhin, a leading winemaker in Burgundy and headed the association from 1993 to 1994. Her brother, Miguel Torres Maczassek, currently the company's Managing Director, was President from 2005 to 2006 and had given the charge to Egon Mueller, the famous winemaker from Scharzhof part of Mosel region.

According to Mireia Torres, “PFV represents an opportunity to share experiences, know-how and the values of different generations; an opportunity to join forces and go beyond what we would be capable of on our own. In the end, we're all facing similar challenges in a changing world: by sharing our knowledge, we can advance faster and pave the way for future generations.”

An association that promotes family values

PFV was founded almost 25 years ago thanks to the initiative of Miguel A. Torres and Robert Drouhin, a leading winemaker in France's Burgundy region. During an informal meeting in 1991, they realized that they shared the same interests and concerns. The following year, they decided to found the association with the goal of preserving a way of making wine and a business model: the family-owned winery. Thus, this select group of winemakers preserves and promotes the traditions and values of family-owned wineries. They also make sure to pass on their knowledge, experience and, above all, their passion for the wine world to younger generations. 

The 11 families that make up PFV, which accepts members by invitation and unanimous decision only, have a centuries-long history, own vineyards and produce high-quality wines and also maintained their unity for generations. The oldest winery is Marchesi Antinori from Tuscany, Italy. Founded in 1385, it has been in the same family for 26 generations. Family Perrin from the Rhône Valley in France was founded in 1909 and represents the association's youngest member. 

The membership to PFV is  by invitation only and all decisions have to be approved unanimously.  It elects a President by rotation every year during the AGM in July, hosted by a member at his estate where at least one member of the family must be present. Moreover, the group undertakes visits to different parts of the world which must be attended by each member.

PFV wines uncorked in Mumbai

Eleven member wineries are: Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Joseph Drouhin, Pol Roger, Hugel e Fils, Château de Beaucastel-France; Miguel Torres, Vega Sicilia- Spain ; Marchesi Antinori, Tenuta San Guido-Italy; Symington Ports - Portugal and Egon Müller-Germany.

To an outsider it appears to be the Old World charm with an obvious bias towards France with five from there (one each from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace and Rhone),  2 each from Spain (Pènedes and  Ribera del Duero and Italy (Tuscany and Umbria and Tuscany Maremma) one from Portugal and one from   Germany. But this is mere coincidence, Egon had told me at the tasting in Mumbai in 2006. Robet Mondavi used to be a member but had to leave after he sold out to Constellation Brands.

As recently as May 24-26 PFV participated in Vinexpo Hong Kong 2016. Following are some of the family members who attended from each wine estate.

• Mireia Torres, Miguel Torres, Spain
• Albiera Antinori, Marchesi Antinori, Italy
• Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta, Tenuta San Guido, Tuscany, Italy
• Hubert de Billy, Champagne Pol Roger, France
• Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, France
• Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, France
• Egon Müller, Egon Müller Scharzhof, Germany
• Jean-Frédéric Hugel, Famille Hugel, France

Though the charter says there will be only one company from one region to avoid any conflicts, there seems to be a happy overlap in Italy where Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia) and Marchesi Antinori (Solaia) which appear to be in harmony. The vacancy created by Mondavi exit in 2005 has still not been filled either. Paul Jaboulet Aine of Rhone used to be a member till 2006 when it was replaced by the Perrin Family, also from Rhone.

The meeting was adjoined after agreeing to induct the 12th person before the next meeti. Therefore, Egon Mueller has an extra agenda on his to-do-list.

Subhash Arora

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