Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Heidsieck Champagnes – French Champagne Houses with German Roots

Picture: Heidsieck et Cie Monopol

I recently published a posting about French Champagne Houses with German roots, i.e. Champagne producers that were founded by Germans. Carolyne Henry pointed out to me that one name that was definitely missing was Heidsieck Champagne.

See more:
French Champagne Houses and German Roots

Heidsieck & Co

Florens-Louis Heidsieck (1749–1828) was the founder of the Champagne House Heidsieck & Co in 1785. Florens-Louis Heidsieck died in 1828 and the Champagne House Heidsieck & Co was dissolved in 1834. Over the following 20 years, however, three separate Champagne Houses took on the name of Heidsieck, all linked to Florens-Louis Heidsieck by various nephews. Today, they are known as Piper-Heidsieck, Heidsieck et Cie Monopole and Charles Heidsieck.

Florens-Louis was the son of a Lutheran minister from Borgholzhausen in Westphalia in Germany. Shortly after he moved to Reims, he married the daughter of the wealthy cloth merchant Nicolas Perthois. On July 16, 1785, Florens-Louis Heidsieck founded the Champagne House, Heidsieck & Co.

Initially, Florens-Louis Heidsick worked with his son, who, however, unexpectedly died at young age. Subsequently, 3 of Florens-Louis’ nephews – who were still in Germany - joined the company as partners:  Henry-Louis Walbaum-Heidsick and Pierre Auguste Delius Heidsieck in 1814 and Christian Heidsieck in 1820 as well as Henri-Guillaume Piper, a great nephew of Florens-Louis, in 1815. In addition, other family members and friends from Germany joined the company.

When Florens-Louis Heidsieck died in 1828, Ferdinand Walbaum, the son of Henry-Louis Walbaum-Heidsieck took over “comme légataire unique et universel”, as was the will of Florens-Louis Heidsieck. Christian Heidsieck managed Heidsieck & Co, while Henri-Guillaume Piper handled sales. Eventually, Heidsieck & Co was dissolved in 1834.


In 1834, following the dissolution of Heidsieck & Co, Christian Heidsieck created a new company, keeping the Heidsieck name. His staff comprised 3 employees, including Henri-Guillaume Piper and Henri-Guillaume Piper’s cousin Jacques-Charles Kunkelmann.

At Christian Heidsieck’s death in 1837, his widow continued to run the house for some time under the name Veuve Heidsieck. She then married Henri-Guillaume Piper and the House became H. Piper et Cie, but continued to sell champagne under the name of Heidsieck, and then Piper-Heidsieck in 1845.

Since 1990, Piper-Heidsieck has been part of the Rémy Cointreau wine and spirits group, which belongs to the Groupe Européenne de Participation Industrielle (EPI), a holding of the Descours family.

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck
Turnover 2010 :    104 millions €
Vineyard: 65 ha
Staff : 126

Heidsieck et Cie Monopole

The other 2 partners (and also nephews) of Florens-Louis Heidsick, Henry-Louis Walbaum-Heidsick and Pierre Auguste Delius-Heidsieck,  founded the house of Walbaum, Heidsieck et Cie in 1834 which, after several changes of name, became Heidsieck et Cie Monopole in 1923.

The "Monopole" part of the name was added in 1923. Today, Heidsieck is owned by the Vranken company (located in Épernay), which also has Pommery in the portfolio.

Champagne Heidsieck & C° Monopole
Group: Vranken-Pommery Monopole
Turnover 2011 : 340 millions €
Vineyard: 275 ha

Charles Heidsick 

Finally, in 1851 Charles-Camille Heidsieck founded the house of Charles Heidsieck. Charles-Camille Heidsieck was the son of Charles-Henri Heidsieck, who was a nephew of Florens-Louis Heidsick and who had worked with Florens-Louis Heidsieck.

Charles-Henri Heidsieck worked for his uncle’s Champagne House Heidsieck & Cie between 1805 and 1818. He became famous for riding into Moscow on a white stallion in 1811 just ahead of Napoleon's advancing army. Charles-Henri Heidsieck arrived with cases of his champagne and his order book, ready to celebrate with whichever side would win the upcoming battle. In 1818, he married Émilie Henriot Godinot and took over the textile company of his father-in-law.

Charles-Camille Heidsieck worked for a number of years at Piper-Heidsick, before leaving the company and founding Charles Heidsick in 1851, together with Ernest Henriot.

Charles-Camille Heidsieck is credited with popularizing champagne in the United States and became known as "Champagne Charlie" in the United States. During the American Civil War Charles-Camille Heidsieck was imprisoned under suspicion of being a spy for the French government and the Confederacy. His imprisonment sparked an international incident between France and US.

Champagne Charles Heidsieck
Founded in: 1851
Turnover 2010 : 104 millions €
Vineyard 65 ha

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