History of Bollinger
The Bollinger Style
Bollinger has been part of the history of the Champagne region for more than 180 years. Members of the family came from many different horizons, and over the decades they have patiently built up an impressive heritage, always devoted to the service of what has become one of the most emblematic Houses the Champagne region has ever known. Today the House remains resolutely independent. As it has gradually expanded throughout the world, it has become a major global brand name.
The Bollinger style is inimitable and recognised as such by the great Champagne lovers, the fruit of rigorous methods and a respect for principles handed down from one generation to the next in a great tradition that has always valued experience above all. Yet Bollinger has never rested on its laurels, always asking questions, seeking new intuitions, eventually leading to some major innovations. These include the choice of technology, too, as long as they enable us to improve product safety, its regularity and its durability.
This style stems from a solid base, rooted in 5 tangible principles:
• The House vineyards: Cover 164 ha, 85% Grand and Premier Cru. • Pinot Noir: The heart of the Grand Cru of Aÿ from the very beginning, the House of Bollinger built its reputation by glorifying this grape variety. • Magnums of reserve wines: The keystone of the blend and the perpetuation of the Special Cuvée style, the standard bearer of Champagne Bollinger. • The barrels: Over 3,500 old barrels that produce micro-oxygenation of the wines, the secret to their excellent ageing capacity. • Time: All of our wines are aged in the cellars two to three times longer than required by the Appellation regulations.
In 1992, a little over 160 years after its creation, the Bollinger Charter of Ethics and Quality was drawn up to show the public the solemn commitments that the House has taken and has always maintained.
A Family Story
1893: Birth of Jacques Bollinger. Son of Georges, he takes over as head of the Champagne House on the death of his father in 1918. Jacques Bollinger earned fame as an aviator during the First Wold War. In 1923, he married Elizabeth Law de Lauriston Boubers. Jacques Bollinger took care of the future development of the business, most notably by extending the premises, building new storerooms and acquiring a residence along Boulevard du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, where the present-day of ces are housed. He also added to the Bollinger vineyards by purchasing vines in Tauxières. • 1941: Madame Bollinger took over management of the House on the death of her husband. A dif cult period for Mrs Bollinger and the business as the Second World War was being waged. After the war, she brought back prosperity to Bollinger by travelling around the world to promote the champagne brand. She managed Champagne Bollinger until 1971. She made a profound impression on the history of the Maison Bollinger for her sheer determination and business mind, and on champagne in general. Under her leadership, Bollinger’s wine-growing estate was further extended by the acquisition of vines in Aÿ, Mutigny, Grauves and Bisseuil. Childless, she was supported by her nephews, Claude d’Hautefeuille and Christian Bizot, her successors. • 1971: Claude d’Hautefeuille took over as managing director of the House. Pursuing a policy driven by independence and quality, he modernised the production facilities and continued to foster the international success of the brand, at the same time enlarging the vineyard by purchasing vines in Champvoisy. • 1978: Christian Bizot assumed responsibility for the future of the House. He expanded the champagne’s global distribution and in 1992 published Bollinger’s ethics and quality charter that translated the house’s unwavering policy to safeguard the family’s philosophy. • 1986: Claude d’Hautefeuille and Christian Bizot created the company Société Jacques Bollinger (SJB) to unite the interests of the family-owned business. • 1994: It was the turn of Ghislain de Montgol er, great-great grandson of the founder, to take over as head of the House in 2008. He was President of the Union des Maisons de Champagne (Union of Champagne Houses) from March 2007 to March 2013. • 2008: Jérôme Philipon, who joined the House in September 2007, became Chairman of Champagne Bollinger. It was the rst time in the history of Bollinger that the future of the House was entrusted to a person from outside the family. With the family’s support, Jérôme Philipon continued to drive the growth of the Champagne Bollinger business and ensure the principles and values of the House were defended for the future. • 2011: After 13 years at the head of the family business, the Chairman of SJB, Arnould d’Hautefeuille, son of Claude, made the decision to hand over the baton to a new team. Jean-Marc Courau was named Chairman and Chief Executive Of cer and Etienne Bizot, son of Christian, Deputy Chief Executive Of ce.
World Wide Presence
Bollinger is present in over 100 countries, and exports account for nearly 85% of the House’s total business activity. Although Bollinger began by directing its horizons mainly towards Germany (because of Jacques Bollinger’s original nationality), Northern Europe and Russia, the House soon set its sights on the British market. We were awarded the Royal Warrant as official supplier to the British Royal Family by Queen Victoria in 1884, and we have kept it ever since. It was therefore no surprise that the Commonwealth countries have always been very special adopted countries for Bollinger. In both Australia and New Zealand, Bollinger is part of the way of life. Today the House has a well-established distribution circuit and enjoys an excellent reputation for its size in the major European countries, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, and right up to Russia. The Bollinger brand is also very well established in Japan, China, South Korea and South-East Asia, including Hong Kong, where we took part in Vinexpo in 2012 and 2014. The United States and the American continent as a whole have considerable market potential for Bollinger. Given the capillary action of the distribution circuits, France remains Bollinger’s second largest market in size. This is more than ever important for the House, for its size, of course, but also for the incredible showcase that it represents for wine lovers the world over. We fully intend to continue our development here, in sales volume and in visibility, by means of an increased network and by remaining close to our main customers.