François LEROY, winemaker, owner of vines at Auxey-Duresses (also where he lived). In addition, he owned vines at Meursault, Pommard, Chambertin, Musigny, Clos Vougeot, and Richebourg.
At this time he sold his wines through Comptoir des Proprietaires de la Cote-d’Or, in Beaune, as evidenced by a document listing prices dating from 1851, which quoted prices of his Richebourgs and Musignys. As he wished to enlarge his business, he founded Maison Leroy in 1868.
Francois Leroy’s son, Joseph Leroy, with the intelligent assistance of his wife, Louise CURTELEY, considerably enlarged the small business at Auxey-Duresses. In addition to making wines, he also made liquors and distilled alcohols. Their efforts were rewarded throughout the years with multiple gold medals and other grand prizes: in Brussels in 1897; Dijon in 1898, and La Rochelle in 1911, just to name a few.
Henri LEROY, son of Joseph and Louise, joined the family business in 1919. He diversified and extended it by creating a subsidiary branch that produced eaux-de-vie alcohol at Gensac La Pallue, near Cognac. He also established a state of the art distillery at Segonzac, in the heart of Champagne.
Henri Leroy was a friend of Edmond Gaudin de Villaine. De Villaine’s wife and brother-in-law, Marie-Dominique Chambon and Jacques Chambon, had inherited fully Domaine Romanée-Conti in October 1912. Due to the world-wide financial crises in the 1920s, the Domaine was for sale in a Notary’s office in Paris for many years; potential buyers were waiting further financial difficulties to exact the best price possible. Henry Leroy succeeds in persuading his friend not to sell the shares of Domaine Romanée-Conti.
Henri Leroy succeeded in convincing his friend but Jacques Chambon insisted on selling his parts and so sold them to Henri Leroy in 1942, which made Henri Leroy half owner of Domaine Romanée-Conti which is still held by the Leroy family today.
Henri Leroy devoted himself entirely to Domaine Romanée-Conti for the following forty years. He gave the best of himself to this Domaine; his intelligence, professionalism, his heart, and made it what it is today. He developed it into what is referred to today as the “fleuron de la Bourgogne” or the jewel of Burgundy.
He died in 1980, proud to have kept his promise to his friend Edmond Gaudin de Villaine: “Don’t sell your shares, you will see, we will make this a jewel.”
Lalou BIZE-LEROY, Henri’s daughter, joined the family business, Maison Leroy, in 1955. She became President-Directeur General en 1971. With great devotion and a lot of work, through constant tasting, she undertook to understand the essential characteristics of each “terroir” from each vineyard of Burgundy. For Maison Leroy, still today, she searches unceasingly to purchase the best wines, and for her the best is always yet to come.
Furthermore, each week, she would accompany her father to Domaine Romanée-Conti of which she became, along with Aubert de Villain, Co-Gerante from 1974 to 15 January 1992. Maison Leroy distributed Domaine Romanée-Conti’s wines world-wide (except the United States and Great Britain) until 15 Janaury 1992.
Takashimaya, owner of luxury department stores in Japan, distributor of wines of Maison Leroy since 1972 in Japan, enters the capital of the Maison Leroy in 1988 up to 1/3. It thus facilitates the acquisition of vineyards of Domaine Leroy.
READ ALSO ANTONIO GALLONI'S ARTICLE ABOUR DOMAINE LEROY!