The history of Bollinger is the history of a family that has passionately defended its values and know-how since the House’s inception in the Champagne village of Aÿ back in 1829.
In 1803 Jacques Joseph Placide Bollinger was born in Ellwangen, in the kingdom of Württemberg. In 1822, he moved to the Champagne region and began work at the Champagne house of Muller Ruinart, which no longer exists.
The Champagne house Renaudin Bollinger was founded on February 6, 1829 in Aÿ by Hennequin de Villermont, Paul Levieux Renaudin and Jacques Bollinger. The partners agreed that the Villermont name would not be used on the labels, hence the house name Renaudin Bollinger. Starting when Jacques Bollinger married Charlotte de Villermont, the house has been managed by the Bollinger family. Even though Paul Renaudin passed without an heir his name, the label did not become solely Bollinger until the 1960s.
Founder Jacques Joseph Bollinger married Charlotte de Villermont. The couple had a daughter, Marie, who had two sons Joseph and Georges. These sons took over the company in 1885 and began expanding the family estate by purchasing vineyards in nearby villages. The sons also developed the image of the brand, such as when Bollinger became the official supplier to the British court, receiving a Royal Warrant in 1884 from Queen Victoria.
In 1918 Jacques Bollinger, the son of Georges, took over the company. Jacques married Emily Law de Lauriston Bourbers, known as “Lilly”. When Jacques Bollinger died in 1941, Lilly Bollinger took over. She expanded production through the purchase of more vineyards, but is better known for traveling the world to promote the brand. Lilly was well-publicized in the Champagne region, leaving several noteworthy quotes. “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.” Lilly managed Bollinger until 1971, when her nephews Claude d’Hautefeuille and Christian Bizot succeeded her.
Six generations of the Bollinger family have built up an impressive heritage, becoming one of the most emblematic Houses of the Champagne region.
Today the House remains resolutely independent. Bollinger maintains more than 150 hectares of vineyards
As it has gradually expanded throughout the world, it has become a major global brand name. Bollinger is regularly feature in James Bond film series.
Owning 164 hectares in the best crus of the Champagne region, Bollinger benefits a grape supply of superior quality, predominantly Pinot Noir which forms the backbone of the Bollinger style.
Champagne Bollinger has never abandoned the ancient method of fermentation in wooden barrels, which helps develop aromas of great finesse and is conducive to micro-oxygenation, enabling the wine to resist premature ageing.
Vinification in wooden barrels is reserved for grapes from the best parcels of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay located exclusively in the Premier and Grand crus.
Most of the reserve wines are kept in magnums; the Bollinger cellars shelter a stock of more than 650.000 magnums which age for 5 to 15 years or more before being used in the blend.
They undergo a light secondary fermentation under natural cork to protect them from oxidation and improve the complexity of Special Cuvée.
Finally, all Bollinger champagnes age more than twice as long as required by the Appellation rules.