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Champagne Pol Roger

Pol Roger made his first sale of wine in January 1849. Family circumstances forced him to set up a business after his father, a notary, contracted an incurable disease and could no longer carry on his practice. The customer was a merchant in Aÿ, the birthplace of Pol Roger. The firm developed rapidly and from Aÿ it moved to Épernay in 1851. As early as 1855, Pol Roger began to favour the production of brut Champagne. He knew that this was the type of Champagne that the English preferred.

When Pol died of pneumonia in 1899, his two sons were ready to take over from him. Maurice and Georges Roger inherited the business from their father, having worked alongside him since the age of 18. The two brothers' determination enabled the firm to overcome a catastrophe, when in February, 1900, the cellars and buildings collapsed. Five hundred casks and one and a half million bottles were lost.

In that same year, they obtained the right to change their family name to "Pol-Roger", as a tribute to their father. Maurice and Georges proved to be very successful. Maurice was the voice of the firm, taking care of its public relations, sales and marketing. Georges was the nose, sometimes described as the taster-in-chief, looking after the making of the Champagne. Georges was also in charge of the financial management. Exports progressed; many crowned heads became customers of the brand and top restaurants on the Champs-Élysées were serving Pol Roger, but the First World War was to bring this expansion to a halt.

Jacques, Maurice's son, came on board in 1927, heralding the arrival of a third generation in the firm. The roller coaster of Pol Roger’s fortunes continued with the financial crash of 1929, which rendered the economic situation especially difficult for the Champenoise. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Germans occupied France during the Second World War and the Wehrmacht took control of the production and purchasing of Champagne.

In the ‘40s, Odette Pol-Roger became close friends with Winston Churchill. The British statesman was an unwavering client of Maison Pol Roger, declaring it to be "The most delightful address in the world". It wasn’t until 1955 that a general improvement in sales could be felt. The range of wines was enlarged and this gave an additional impetus to the development of Pol Roger's fame. In 1961, a vintage rosé was launched. A few years later, a special wine was launched in honour of the house’s best-known customer. Cuvée Winston Churchill was born in 1975. Over the last forty years, the company has continued to develop and prosper, and by 1999 its vineyard holdings had reached 201 acres.
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