Bollinger is the second largest independent Champagne House after Roederer. The portfolio has grown over the last few years, but they have managed to maintain their focus on quality and advancements. Bollinger embraces traditional winemaking techniques if Bollinger considers them superior to modern techniques. The Bollinger style is dry, toasty, full bodied and generally dominated by pinot noir.
Bollinger Champagne Collection
Dry and Sweet
Bollinger Dry Styles
Vintage Prestige Cuvee
In 1829 three men came together to establish the original firm of Renaudin-Bollinger et Cie. The group consisted of Joseph Jacob Bollinger (known as Jacques), a well-traveled German businessman who worked at another champagne house; Paul Joseph Renaudin, a local landowner with a fascination of wine; and Athanase Hennequin de Villermont, an aristocrat and renowned soldier who had received a substantial inheritance of land in the Aÿ region of Champagne. The three men agreed not to use the Villermont name on the label since aristocrats were essentially prohibited from commercial transactions at the time. Jacques was in charge of sales and Paul was in charge of the cellars. Jacques married Louise-Charlotte, the daughter of Athanase in 1837.
The sons of Jacques and Louise-Charlotte, Joseph and Georges, eventually took over the operations of the house. The Bollinger reputation and vineyard holdings expanded. Phylloxera and World War I brought great devastation to Champagne, but Bollinger managed to continue production. Georges, Chairman of Bollinger and Councilman at Aÿ helped protect the village. Georges’ son Jacques was an aviator, rising to the rank of Lieutenant during the war. Georges died before the war was over. After Jacques was discharged from the military in 1919, he took over as head of the Bollinger Champagne House at the age of 24. He married Scotswoman Lily Bollinger in 1923. Jacques eventually became mayor of Aÿ and lead the house and the town during the turmoil of World War II until his death in 1941. When Jacques died at the age of 47, Lily, also known as “Madame Jacques” at the house, took over. Jacques had taught his wife extensively about the champagne business and Lily proved to be an exceptional businesswoman. Under her guidance until her death in 1977, Bollinger managed to double its production. Images of Madame Jacques’ bicycle trips through the vineyards remain a cherished memory, as do her familiar quotes such as: “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”
Lily taught members of her family the details of running the House. She made her niece’s husband, Claude d’Hautefeuille Director in 1950 and appointed him Chairman in 1971 after she had spent 30 years at the reins herself. Lily remained active in the management of the house until her death 6 years later. In 1978, Claude retired and Madame Bollinger’s nephew Christian Bizot took over. In 1994, the great-great grandson of founder Jacques, Christian de Montgolfier stepped in. In 2007, Christian was elected to head the Board of the Union des Maisons de Champagne and the co-chairman of the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne. Jérôme Philipon became the first non-family member to take the Chairman position in 2008.
Even though Paul Renaudin, one of the original founders, passed away without an heir and the company had been run only by the Bollinger family for many years, the Renaudin name continued on the label until the 1960s when it was finally dropped, making the label solely “Bollinger”.
When one of the three original founders, Jacques Bollinger, became friends with Ludwig Mentzendorff, Ludwig introduced Queen Victoria to Bollinger champagne and the appreciation was so great that the Royal Warrant was awarded to Jacques in 1884. The Royal Warrant is awarded exclusively to suppliers to the Royal Court. For 130 years Bollinger has been sanctioned by England’s monarchy to label its bottles with the royal coat of arms, along with the phrase “By appointment to Her Majesty…” In 1973, Albert R. Broccolimet, film producer of several James Bond movies, formed a lasting friendship with Christian Bizot, former Bollinger CEO. Since Moonraker, Bollinger has been featured in 13 James Bond Movies. Aligning with the tastes of Agent 007, England remains one of Bollinger’s leading export markets.
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