Pol Roger made his first sale of wine in January 1849. Family circumstances forced him to set up a business his father, a notary, had contracted an incurable disease and could no longer carry on his practice. The customer was a merchant in Aÿ, the native village of Pol Roger. The firm developed rapidly. From Aÿ, it moved to Epernay in 1851. As early as 1855, Pol began to favor production of brut Champagne. He knew that this was the type of Champagne which the English preferred. By 1899, when its founder died, the brand has acquired an enviable amount of recognition. It had only taken about thirty years.
1849 - 1899
The Rogers lived in Aÿ, a village famous for its vineyards, lying at the foot of the Montagne de Reims. Pol Roger was only 18 when, on 2nd January 1849, he made his first sale of wine. Circumstances obliged him to take such an initiative : his father, a notary, contracted an incurable disease and had to give up his practice. The family settled in Épernay in 1851, where the firm would be able to develop. When Pol Roger died of pneumonia in 1899, his two sons were ready to take over from him.
In July 2013 Laurent d’Harcourt succeeded Patrice Noyelle and takes over the position of President of the Board of Directors. Laurent joined Pol Roger in 2006 as an Export Director, to replace Christian Pol-Roger, and was appointed to the Board of Directors in June 2008. Laurent d’Harcourt and Hubert de Billy (member of the Board of Directors) are supported by an experienced management team: Dominique Petit (Cellar Master), Evelyne de Billy (Vineyard Manager), Isabelle Gautier (Financial Director) and Hugues Romagnan (Export Director).
The relationship between Champagne Pol Roger and Sir Winston Churchill dates back to a providential meeting at a luncheon given by the British Ambassador to France some months after the liberation of Paris at which was served the sumptuous 1928 vintage of Pol Roger. Attending the lunch was the beautiful Odette Pol-Roger as well as the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, with whom she struck up an instant rapport. A friendship was born which continued until Churchill’s death, creating links between the Pol-Roger and Churchill families which are still as strong to this day.
The pressures of his post sadly prevented Churchill ever paying a visit to 44 Avenue de Champagne, the home of Champagne Pol Roger, but he nonetheless proclaimed it “the most drinkable address in the world”. As recompense for breaking his promise to visit he sent Odette a copy of his Memoirs inscribed “Cuvée de Réserve, mise en bouteille au Château de Chartwell”. He even named one of his racehorses “Pol Roger” and the lly strode to victory at Kempton Park in 1953, Coronation Year.
THE “CUVÉE SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL”
Champagne Pol Roger created their Prestige Cuvée in homage to Sir Winston Churchill mindful of the qualities that he sought in his champagne: robustness, a full-bodied character and relative maturity. The exact blend is a closely guarded family secret but it is undeniable that the composition would meet with the approval of the man to whom it is dedicated: “My tastes are simple, I am easily satisfied with the best”. Pinot Noir predominates, providing structure, breadth and robustness whilst Chardonnay contributes elegance, sense and subtlety. Composed exclusively of grapes sourced from Grand Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards which were already under vine during Churchill’s lifetime, “Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill” is only made in the very best vintages and is always released later than the other vintage dated Champagnes from Pol Roger, marking Churchill’s appreciation for older wines.