France Champagne

The nobleman Joseph-Jacob-Placide Bollinger (1803-1884) from the Kingdom of Württemberg joined the Chamapgner company Müller-Ruinart in 1822. Until 1829 he was extremely successful as a sales represe...
Name: Bollinger
Growing area: Champagne
Owner: Société Jaques Bollinger
Managing Director: Jérôme Philipon
Wine Maker: Gilles Descôtes
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The nobleman Joseph-Jacob-Placide Bollinger (1803-1884) from the Kingdom of Württemberg joined the Chamapgner company Müller-Ruinart in 1822. Until 1829 he was extremely successful as a sales representative in Germany. This year he and two partners founded the famous champagne house in Aÿ near the city of Reims, which was then known as Renaudin-Bollinger. The count and admiral Athanase-Louis-Emmanuel de Villermont (1763-1840) was active in the wine trade and brought extensive vineyard ownership. The third was Paul Renaudin, who had previously been a sales representative at Müller-Ruinart, but who left the young company a little later. Since the count did not want to be mentioned by name, the company was henceforth called Bollinger. He now called himself Jacques Bollinger and married Louise-Charlotte de Villermont, the count's daughter, in 1837. As early as 1865 champagne exported to England and from 1884 the house was the purveyor to Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and was awarded the "Royal Warrant".

After the founder's death, the sons Joseph and Georges successfully continued the business and acquired additional vineyards Bouzy, Louvois, Tauxieres and Verzenay. In 1918, a grandson of the founder of the same name, Jacques Bollinger (1894-1941), took over the management of the company. After his early death, his widow Elisabeth "Lily" Bollinger (1899-1977) took over the business during the German occupation. The Wehrmacht not only confiscated the company's building, but also 178,000 bottles of the champagne in stock. However, this was still produced despite the difficult circumstances. The legendary Madame then directed the fortunes of the house for four decades. Under their leadership, production was doubled. She was cycling through her vineyards until she was old.


In 1971 Madame Bollinger transferred the management of the company to her nephew Claude d'Hautefeuille (1913-2000). One year before her death, the French state awarded her the Ordre National du Merit. Her witty answer to a reporter's question on which occasions she drinks champagne is already legendary and often told: I drink it when I'm happy and I drink it when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone; I drink it in company anyway. Even if I have no appetite, I like to take a glass. And of course, if I have an appetite, I also take it. But otherwise I don't touch him, unless - when I'm thirsty. (see many other sayings by well known personalities about wine below Quotes ). From 1978 to 1994 Christian Bizot (1928-2002), son of Lily Bollinger's younger sister, was the sixth president to lead the company. He introduced the use of a label with sound information on all Bollinger Champagnes without a vintage. This caused an absolute transparency, because it was now clear which grape varieties were used and how long the wines were stored. This data is kept top secret in many other houses.

In 1985, Bollinger acquired 40% of the Australian company Petaluma and was instrumental in the development of a sparkling wine cellar in Adelaide. Ghislain de Montgolfier (also a nephew of Lily Bollinger) has been the seventh president since 1994. Unlike many others, the company is still family-owned. The company's own vineyards now encompass 152 hectares of vines in the best crus, including in the municipalities Aÿ. Bouzy and Verzenay. Around 60% are considered Grand Cru and another 30% as Premier Cru, The products of the house are based on the strictest quality controls mainly Pinot noir grapes partly with barrel fermentation (which is otherwise not common with champagne) and for a very long time lees produced. The reserve wines are not stored in large barrels, but corked according to cru and vintage, corked in individual Magnum bottles under light pressure. Only the must from the first pressing (cuvée) is used. The must of the second pressing (waist) is sold to other winegrowers. Only at Chardonnay is sometimes also in the best vintages waist recycled. The first fermentation the wine, sorted by cru, takes place in (of course French) and stainless steel tanks instead of. Champagne without vintage is aged for at least three years, vintage champagne for at least five to eight years.

When the vintages are particularly good, a vintage champagne called "Grande Année" is produced, which after the second fermentation in the bottle is stored on the yeast for at least five years. A little still red wine from vineyards around Aÿ is added to the "Grande Année Rosé". It is the rarest champagne Mono blend "Vieilles Vignes Françaises", which is made from old, ungrafted Pinot Noir vines from one of the phylloxera spared vineyard is produced in small quantities (max. 2,000 bottles per year). After the dégorgement, all champagne must rest for at least three months before they are delivered. The label on special champagnes on the label and reserved for Bollinger is legally protected Récemment dégorgé (RD). Around 1.5 million bottles are produced annually. The products are exported to a total of 80 countries worldwide. Also James Bond 007 loves Bollinger champagne.

Bollinger Region: France Champagne
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