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Patrick de Gmeline, Specialist in the History of Champagne : « King Louis XV played a Major Role in the History of Champagne »

12 décembre 2011 No Comment
Patrick de Gmeline
Patrick de Gmeline, Specialist in the History of Champagne, has written a few books about History, Champagne and Champagne houses including "Ruinart, the oldest producer of Champagne : From 1729 until today". He is now working on a new exciting book that should be released in 2013.

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How did you fall in love with Champagne ?

Patrick de Gmeline: "It is through Ruinart that my "connection" with the Champagne started. I wrote three books with Roland de Calonne about the oldest Champagne house and published several other documents. Then I met Gilles de La Bassetiere, President of de Venoge, as I already knew for a long time part of his family. From this complicity, we wrote the history of a beautiful house whose founders were personalities in the Champagne business. So it is now more than twenty years since I started studying the history of Champagne houses, of their founders and family owners, mainly on the human and business aspects. The long hours spent reading houses' records and interviewing those who are now in charge, has convinced me that the sustainability and the image of a Champagne house rely very much on history."

Is there any key personality that made Champagne what it is today ?

Patrick de Gmeline: "King Louis XV played a major role in the history of Champagne. First as a connoisseur as Champagne was served during his official celebrations as well as at his private dinners! Then in 1728, by signing the famous judgement that allowed Champagne houses to transport the "wine" in bottles rather than in barrels as it was done before. This decision has therefore changed the way Champagne was being transported and marketed. So Champagne was born and, now bottled, the wine could preserve its precious bubbles and finally become Champagne as we drink it today. The first Champagne house, Ruinart, was founded in 1729, just one year after this judgement. Champagne de Venoge was the only champagne house to celebrate this historic act by printing the "Royal Blue" colour on its Cuvee "Louis XV. "

What new projects are you working on that may concern Champagne?

Patrick de Gmeline: "My editor, Presses de la Cité, and its director Denis Bourgeois have convinced me to write a novel based on historical sources about a region in France and its industries. So I naturally chose the Champagne region that I know for now thirty years. This will be a saga of five generations from the early 18th century to the 1970s, starring champagne houses' directors, cellar masters and all women and men who have contributed to the development of Champagne. We will find all the famous names of champagne houses, including those from Ruinart and de Venoge, my favourite houses, but also many other personalities in their own environment. It should be released in fall 2013 and will also contain some information about the evolution of the wines and the techniques. "

(You can reach the writer at info@vitabella.fr)

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