Madame Bollinger

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On 10 November 1923, Jacques Bollinger, the grandson of Joseph Jacob – better known as Jacques Bollinger, cofounder of the House a century earlier – married Elisabeth Law de Lauriston-Boubers, a descendent of John Law de Lauriston, the Scottish adventurer, banker and economist, who co-founded the Compagnie des Indes. She was 24, and he 29.

When she married Jacques, Elisabeth embraced, with verve and passion, champagne and the vineyard. In 1941, when her husband died without an heir, the young 42-year-old widow took up the reins without hesitation. Known as “Mrs Jacques” to the villagers of Aÿ and “Aunt Lily” to the family, Elisabeth Lauriston Bollinger was considered by all as one of the great ladies of Champagne. She saw the House through the war and German occupation bravely and firmly and then from the 1950s represented Bollinger wines across the world with her now famous elegance and determination. For thirty years, she guided the House she had inherited between tradition and modernity, with intelligence and subtlety. It was she who took the decision to launch Bollinger R.D. in 1967, followed by Vieilles Vignes Françaises in 1969.

Madame Bollinger stood down as head of the company in 1971, and died on 22 February 1977, leaving the House with her stamp of an unquestionably great lady of Champagne.