Champagne house in Aÿ
The story of the Champagne House Bollinger, located on the Côte des Blancs, began in 1829. That very year, Joseph Bollinger met Athanase Louis Emmanuel Hennequin, count of Villermont. The first man was a wine merchant from Germany, who was working at the time for the Maison Müller-Ruinart (founded by Anton Müller, Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin's former cellar master); the second one was a rich landowner in Champagne, where his family had been living since 1650. The two partnered with a third person, Paul Renaudin, and together they created the House Bollinger-Renaudin (they even hired a man called William Deutz in 1832, the future founder of another famous champagne house).
The union of the Bollinger and de Villermont families went beyond a simple business partnership. In 1837, Joseph married Louise-Charlotte de Villermont, with whom he had two children: Joseph Jr. and Georges. The Bollinger brothers would later become the estate's managers, a job they did brilliantly. In 1920, Jacques Bollinger, the grandson of the original founder, took over the champagne house. He was only 24 years old. Thanks to his incredible work, the brand became all the rage outside of France, especially in the United Kingdom, which Jacques was very fond of.
His love for England is also what led him to meet Elizabeth Law de Lauriston-Boubers (nicknamed "Lily"), whom he married in 1923. When Jacques died, she took it upon herself to lead the estate. Lily was extremely efficient, due to her dynamic personality and her sharp business acumen. For her, Bollinger Champagne simply had to be the best there ever was; nothing less. Her suggestions are actually what originally convinced Jacques to produce the "Bollinger RD" cuvée, made with recently disgorged grapes. The Bollinger brand became synonymous with quality and prestige.
In 1950, Lily's niece's husband, Claude d'Hautefeuille, was given the title of manager. In 1971, he was promoted to president of the Bollinger group by Mrs. Bollinger herself. Seven years later, after Lily passed away, her nephew Christian Bizot became Claude's successor. He was the man who started the long-standing partnership with the James Bond movie franchise, in 1973. Almost twenty years later, in 1994, Joseph Bollinger's great-great-grandson, Ghislain de Montgolfier, rose to the rank of manager. He was also the associate president of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne in 2007 and the president of the Conseil de l'Union des Maisons de Champagne. In 2008, Jérôme Philipon was elected as the new director of House Bollinger. Then, in 2017, Charles-Armand de Belenet became its current CEO.
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