In 1851, a 29 year-old Charles tempts fate and founds a champagne house that is a true reflection of his character.
‘The vineyards must remain in the hands of the growers and their expertise’. Charles chooses to leave the vineyards in the hands of those who know them best, nurturing their talent, their knowledge and their respect for the terroir.
A pragmatist, he decides to concentrate on producing and ageing wine, and purchases forty-seven Chalk cellars dating from the 11th century. This labyrinth of underground alcoves and galleries offers ideal conditions for ageing and enhancing his wines. His intuition will be rewarded.
Driven by confidence and instinct, Charles ensures his wine reflects his personality, going so far as to give it his first name. This decision causes quite a stir in Champagne.
However, it is not enough for this cosmopolitan creator… he craves a wider audience for his exceptional wines – the world awaits.
In 1852, trusting his intuition, Charles leaves for America, the promised land still untouched by the champagne trade. If there is to be champagne in America, it will be his and no other.
A charismatic dandy, popular with the powerful and the press. An undeniable icon, perceived as an ambassador for champagne and France, Charles seduces New York society and its business bourgeoisie. Furthermore, he wins over the South, including wild Louisiana. He becomes known as ‘Champagne Charlie’.
On returning to Europe, he turns his attention first to Belgium and then England. Lauded and decorated at the Universal Exhibitions, his labels soon start to sparkle in all the royal courts. If Europe and the United States have succumbed to the charm of his fine bubbles, a greater conquest still awaits. Having gained territorial control, he must now conquer time and continue to produce exceptional wines year after year, century after century! A challenge for which he is more than a match.