The House of RUINART was officially founded in 1729, as it was only on the 25th May 1728 that a royal decree authorized the transport of champagne wine in baskets containing 50 or 100 bottles. Prior to that date wines could only be transported in casks. Therefore the right to transport bottles opened up the market throughout France and even further afield for the wine merchants in Reims.
At that time Nicolas Ruinart was working for his father in the drapery trade. His uncle Dom Thierry Ruinart, a visionary Benedictine monk contemporary of Louis XIV, understood the promising future of the “wine with bubbles” produced from the vines of his native Champagne. France was under the reign of the young King Louis XV, and a certain lifestyle and refinement began to influence the market Dom Ruinart passed his intuition to his nephew.
On 1st September 1729, Nicolas Ruinart opened the very first ledger devoted to “wine with bubbles”. This document constitutes the official act for the foundation of the Champagne House RUINART.
The beginnings were very modest with just 170 bottles sold in 1730, with clients being essentially the same for both drapery and wines. However, being a very shrewd businessman and noticing a certain decline in the drapery business he decided to concentrate his efforts on the production of wine.
In 1735, RUINART abandoned the cloth trade to concentrate on the burgeoning champagne trade. This became Nicolas’s sole occupation and growth was exponential with 3,000 bottles sold in 1731, 36,000 in 1761, and onwards.
Wines were sold in the North of France and in the South of Belgium. Their clientele mainly comprised the wealthy middle class, artisans, and nobility.
Over a period of the next 30 years the RUINART progressed and developed: in 1764 Nicolas’s son Claude came into the business. Sales on the export were also developed. Germany became the up and coming market for Ruinart. Throughout the following century, Claude traveled extensively, and his journeys took him as far as America and Russia.
The Ruinart family continued to expand the House and on 12th April 1817, Louis XVIII granted nobility to François Irénée Ruinart.
The ever-increasing activity necessitated new storing solutions. RUINART looked into the use of chalk pits exploited by the Romans. More or less abandoned, Claude Ruinart decided to acquire them as cellars.Until then the precious champagne bottles had been stored in the cellars of the private residences and that proved to be insufficient.
In the first quarter of the XIXth Century, the House invested in additional vineyards, extending the cellars and developing the clientele. New markets in England and the USA opened up.
However, World War I, the crash of 1929, and World War II, had a toll on RUINART. In 1946 there were only 10,000 bottles left in stock, and only two customers, in Paris; RUINART was on the brink of disappearing. In the same year Bertrand Mure, a family member, took over and started rebuilding the House and the brand from scratch. This is when the House decided to refocus on Chardonnay, which today characterizes RUINART champagnes.
After a glorious past and a number of vicissitudes, RUINART has joined the LVMH luxury group and has since become one of the most appreciated and respected champagne brands in France.
RUINART is currently managed by Frédéric Dufour and its Cellar Master is Frédéric Panaïotis. The House sells an estimated 3 million bottles per year.
RUINART champagnes are characterized by an unusually high percentage of Chardonnay in the blends, resulting in a fine freshness and elegance, with a certain power.