GMIT lecturer inducted as an expert into one of the oldest wine guilds in the world

Thursday, December 01, 2016 Press Office
Press Release

Elizabeth Fox is now a Confrére of the Confrérie Saint-Etienne d’Alsace

One of the oldest wine guilds in the world, Confrérie Saint-Etienne d’Alsace, held its first ever Chapter and conferring in Ireland this month (November) when a number of wine experts including GMIT  lecturer Elizabeth  Fox and Fergus O’Halloran, Manager of The Twelve Hotel, Barna, were inducted into their elite Alsace guild.

The Confrérie Chancellor, its Grand Master 2016 and officials from Alsace attended the ceremonial occasion in Barberstown Castle which included a wine tasting, the inductions into the Confrérie, and a gala dinner with Alsace wines from the Confrérie’s own cellars.

Elizabeth Fox, who lectures on hospitality and culinary programmes in GMIT’s College of Tourism & Arts, is an award-winning beverage specialist with extensive experience both in trade and education, and has held senior beverage management positions in the licensed trade sector for decades.  Last year (2015), she was awarded a special prize for the highest result in the World Certified Sherry Educators Programme in Spain, becoming one of 25 professionals from around the world who gathered in Jerez in October to qualify as Sherry Certified Educators and Sherry Ambassadors.

Speaking about this new honour conferred on Elizabeth, GMIT’s Head of Dept of Culinary Arts and the Services Industry, Gerry Talbot, says: “We are all delighted and very proud of Liz’s achievements in being conferred into the elite Confrérie Saint-Etienne d’Alsace. Our students are benefitting greatly from Liz’s expert knowledge and skills in this very extensive area.”

Founded in the 14th century, the Confrérie Saint-Etienne d’Alsace has been based since 1973 in the Château de Klentzheim, built in 1563 by Baron Lazare de Schwendi, which houses the Confrérie wine library, or oenothèque, a unique collection of more than 60,000 bottles of Alsace wine dating from 1834. Since its statutes were first established in 1561, the role of the Confrérie has been to oversee and guarantee the quality of Alsace wines by awarding its official seal or ‘Sigille’ after a blind tasting, and to promote the knowledge and appreciation of Alsace wine and its food culture.

Article 1 of the Confrérie’s own regulations state “Nobody may become a member of the Confrérie Saint-Etienne unless he/she loves joyfulness, good food and Alsace wines...”.

Speaking about the honour, Fergus O’Halloran, says: “Alsace is a fascinating area which produces some exceptional wines with exquisite aromas and a particular fresh, mineral character that guests at The Twelve seem to really appreciate and enjoy”.

“I am delighted and proud to be inducted into the Confrérie and it’s wonderful to share the experience with Elizabeth Fox from GMIT here in Galway. It is an honour to be part of the extraordinary ongoing story of this historic organisation, and we will continue to do our best to continue to promote the knowledge and appreciation of Alsace wine in our own part of the world.”

For more information about GMIT’s hospitality and culinary arts programmes, please visit: (see course list on right)