Bollinger is a Champagne house, a producer of sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France. They produce several labels of Champagne under the Bollinger name, including the vintageVieille Vignes Françaises, Grand Année and R.D. as well as the non-vintage Special Cuvée. Founded in 1829 in Aÿ by Hennequin de Villermont, Paul Renaudin and Jacques Bollinger the house continues to be run by members of the Bollinger family.
Bollinger has roots in the Champagne region dating back to 1585 when the Hennequins, one of the Bollinger founding families, owned land in Cramant. Before the Bollinger house was founded, in the 18th century the Villermont family practiced wine making, though not under their family name. In 1750, Villermont settled in the location 16 rue Jules Lobet, which would eventually become the head office for Bollinger. 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. Many other German nationals came to settle in the Champagne region, including Johann-Josef Krug and the Heidsiecks, who founded a house that would become Charles Heidsieck, Piper Heidsieck, Heidsieck & Co Monopole, Veuve Clicquot and others.
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“. Jacques further expanded the facilities by building new cellars, purchasing the Tauxieres vineyards, and acquiring the assets of another Champagne house on Boulevard du Marechal de Lattire de Tassigny—where Bollinger’s officers are presently located.
When Jacques Bollinger died in 1941, Lilly Bollinger took over. Lilly 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.
Bollinger was modernized under the direction of Claude d’Hautefeuille, who acquired additional vineyards and developed the brand internationally. Following Claude, his cousin Christian Bizot took over the Bollinger house. In addition to expanding the world distribution of Bollinger, Bizot developed a Charter of Ethics and Quality in 1992. Since 1994, Ghislain de Mongolfier has managed Bollinger. A great-grandson of the founder, Mongolfier has also served as president of the Association Viticole Champenoise since 2004, after leading the Commission of Champagne for 10 years. The winemaker has also used the popular James Bond film series as a marketing device.