Our story goes back to January 6th 1912 and the beginnings of a new winemakers’ organisation, the Union of Wine and Spirits Merchants of Vaucluse (Syndicat des Négociants en Vins et Spiritueux de Vaucluse). The Syndicat was open to négociants, brokers and travelling sales reps.
A similar, Côtes du Rhône-specific association - the Syndicat Général des Négociants en Vins Fins des Côtes du Rhône – opened in Saint Péray in 1933, and was followed in 1938 by the Syndicat des Négociants de Châteauneuf du Pape.
Despite the world wars, the three unions kept up their work, protecting the interests of their members often in very difficult conditions.
In 1948, the Syndicat Général des Négociants en Vins Fins des Côtes du Rhône moved its headquarters to Avignon.
The idea of establishing a joint professional committee was first mooted in the early 1950s.
In 1955 the Committee took shape, under the name ‘Comité Interprofessionnel des Côtes du Rhône’ (CICDR or Côtes du Rhône Wines Council). The list of members included a familiar name – Marc Chapoutier (Michel’s grandfather), who was at the time president of the Syndicat Général des Négociants.
In 1960, the two wine merchants’ groups - INAO and the Syndicat des Producteurs de Côtes du Rhône - merged, setting up their headquarters in Rue Henri Fabre in Avignon.
12th November 1971 saw the inauguration of the INAO Regional Committee for Côtes du Rhône and Provence. 4 négociants and 1 broker (courtier) were appointed to represent négociant interests.
Based on an idea by négociants, CICDR officially registered the design for an exclusive Côtes du Rhône wine bottle; the bottle was first used in 1973.
But not everything went smoothly for CICDR that year. An extract from an administrative report published by the Board reads, “Discussions have taken place which lead us to believe that the Property would like to pursue its ‘dream’ independently of the Négoce…”
At the beginning of the decade, the Vaucluse Wine Wholesalers’ Syndicate (Syndicat du Commerce en Gros de Vaucluse) merged with the Syndicat Général des Négociants en Vins Fins des Côtes du Rhône.
1984 was a black year, as two of the larger négociant businesses filed for bankruptcy. This had serious financial repercussions for producers.
To avoid a similar situation in the future, the Syndicat des Négociants introduced a credit assurance scheme the following year, backed by the CICDR fund to promote market growth, ensuring members could protect themselves against non-paying clients. The scheme also offered an audit to all négociant businesses.
In 1985, the National Federation of Négociants (Fédération Nationale du Négoce) set up a unit to analyse the financial data of its wine producers, and calculate the relative share of business held by each producer within their region.
In 2001, the Syndicat des Négociants changed its name to UMR - the Union des Maisons du Rhône.
In 2007 the rules changed, allowing cooperative wineries to join the organisation.
The first wineries to take advantage of the change were Cellier de Marrenon, Cellier des Dauphins and UVICA.
In 2008, UMR changed its name yet again, this time to Union des Maisons de Vins du Rhône (UMVR), and in 2014, the new logo and website were introduced.
1933 – 1943: Mr Ulysse JABOULET VERCHERE, Maison Jaboulet Verchère, Tain l’Hermitage
1944 - 1947: Mr Robert Paul ETIENNE, Maison Paul Etienne, Saint Péray
1948 - 1951: Mr Jean DAVID, Maison David et Foillard, Sorgues
1952 - 1954 : Mr J.VIDAL FLEURY, Maison Vidal Fleury, Ampuis
1955 - 1958: Mr Marc CHAPOUTIER, Maison Chapoutier, Tain l’Hermitage
1959 - 1963: Mr Joseph VEYNE, Maison Veyne, Orange
1964 - 1969: Mr Raymond GRADASSI, Maison Bessac, Châteauneuf du Pape
1970 - 1983: Mr Louis JABOULET, Maison Jaboulet, Tain l’Hermitage
1984 - May 1995: Mr Henry BOUACHON, Caves Saint Pierre, Châteauneuf du Pape
May 1995 - May 1999: Mr FARGET, Maison Salavert, Bourg St Andéol
May 1999 - May 2005: Mr Jérôme SEGUIN, Ets Du Peloux, Courthézon
May 2005 - November 2014: Mr Michel CHAPOUTIER, Maison Chapoutier, Tain l’Hermitage
From November 2014: Mr Etienne MAFFRE, Maison Gabriel MEFFRE
1948 - 1972: Mr Joseph HANRIAT
1972 - 1982: Ms Suzanne BLANC
1983 - 2008: Ms Bernadette LEMBERT
From 2008: Ms Aurore LEMBERT