Our Bacchic brotherhood was born in Marseille in the year of our Lord 1690, in a circle of Royal Navy officers from the high nobility, but it was in 1693 that it took off in full swing, under the influence of Sieur Girardin de Vauvré, Intendant of the Navy in Toulon.
Its main objective was to allow naval officers, on their return from long voyages on the galleys, to be received with dignity on shore and to enjoy abundant feasts, served with ample wine.
Its social role was also very important with support for members of the Order wounded in action and their families or for thepayment of ransoms for officers taken prisoner by the Barbary pirates.
After spreading to the military ports of the Kingdom, the Order of Medusa was put on hold during the French Revolution only to be reborn in 1951 when Provençal winegrowers, led by Baron de Rasque de Laval, owner of Château Sainte Roseline at Les Arcs-sur-Argens in the Var, sought to give their region of Provence a strong symbol of identity allowing them to promote both ancient traditions and the terroir wines.
Since then, the Order has continued to grow and shine by contributing to the promotion of the ampelographic appellations of Provence :
Palette, Cassis, Bandol, Côtes de Provence, Coteaux Varois en Provence and Bellet.
More than 2000 Knights, then Officers and Commanders have joined our Brotherhood, each playing their part with five key-words in mind : Tradition, Future, Elegance, Pleasure and Sharing.
Today, the Order must rediscover the pugnacity of ancient times and give priority to its dual role as an advocate and official ambassador of the Provence Wines.
Such a role corresponds in every way to the letter of our own statutes :
« The Illustrious Order of the Knights of Medusa aims to promote the wines of Provence while keeping alive the great hours of past centuries. »
The missions of the Order of Medusa for the Great Wines of Provence:
To promote in every way possiblethe knowledge of the wines and Appellations d’Origine contrôlée of our region.
To encourage the international trade of Provence wines by supporting exports.
To make known and appreciated the sites of the Provençal region and their multiple vineyards.
To develop among the members of the Order, during the different chapters and in each of the activities of the Illustrious Society,
friendship, mutual aid, generosity, the beautiful French spirit and loyalty to the common ideal.
To assist in the creation of new priories abroad and to participate in the development of the existing ones.
The growing involvement of our Order within the International Federation of Bacchic Brotherhoods (FICB) is part of this process of openness;
This is why our brotherhood was chosen to organize the 53rd International Congress of Bacchic Brotherhoods at the end of May 2026 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.
In addition, after having reconnected with its maritime first years of existence through the creation of « Knights of Memory and Tradition »,
the rank conferred to the main officials of the French Navy in the Mediterranean for the duration of their assignment, our Brotherhood is now opening up to the academic world, hotel schools and sommelier qualifications. For those who excel in these trades, the Order has created the rank of « Knights of Culture and Tradition ».
The Illustrious Order of the Knights of Medusa, with its centuries of traditions, is writing its story for everyone’s happiness with our magnificent Provence terroirs.