Taittinger Champagne House

Taittinger champagne house was established in 1734 in Reims by Jacques Fourneaux and has built its rich history and legacy through years of producing fine wine. The house is in Champagne, a historical French province known for producing champagne wines. The house was initially known as Forest-Fourneaux and operated until 1932, when the Taittingers acquired it.[1] Fourneaux collaborated with the finest wine producer at the time, Abbey champagne house.

The land where Forest-Fourneaux was established belonged to Saint-Nicaise Abbey of the Benedictine order. The Benedictine order was the first to plant vineyards in Champagne and was the source of many other preceding houses. Saint-Nicaise was among many abbeys engaged in vineyard cultivation. Winemaking was common and led to the creation of champagne houses. Fourneaux established the third champagne house in the region, taking inspiration from the Abbeys and working closely together.

Figure 1: Champagne Taittinger Prelude Grands Crus NV by Dominic Lockyer

Jacques Fourneaux learned winemaking from Abbey’s Benedictine monks at the time. While the house engaged in producing still and sparkling wine, it is the sparkling wine that led to its rapid growth. Today, the house is one of the biggest champagne producers. It is one of the most recognized winemaking houses and regularly appears in publications such as Wine World, Vogue, Wine Spectator, The New York Times, and Vintage.

Forest-Fourneux’s flourished and had to be moved after world war I to Rue de Tambour, which had been occupied by Theobald I of Navarre. As the legend goes, Theobald I brought the Chardonnay grape to the region after leading a crusade from Cyprus to the Holy Land. The house, however, was affected by the great depression of 1929. In addition, other challenges such as prohibition deteriorated its exports leading to its sale. In 1932, the Taittingers, a family of wine merchants, bought the champagne house.

The history of the Taittingers

The Taittingers were a family of wine merchants in France. They relocated to Paris from Lorraine to maintain their French citizenship status following the signing of the Frankfurt treaty of 1871, resulting from the end of the Franco-Prussian war. Low land prices after World War I, together with the challenges facing Forest-Fourneaux champagne house, ensured they easily acquired it. Besides, they bought large swathes of land where they planted vines.

Starting in 1945, Francois Taittinger established the first cellars, the abbey of Saint-Nicaise, “built in the 13th century in Gallo-Roman chalk pits that dated back to the 4th century.”[2] Francois managed the cellars and vineyards until he died in 1960, when his brother, Claude, took over the business. Claude pushed the business to great potential making it one of the renowned Champagne houses. Besides, Taittingers’ burgeoning business saw them expand into other luxurious businesses. These expansions plunged the Taittingers into financial difficulties leading to selling their businesses to an American hotel group, Starwood Group, in 2005.

The entry of relatively new owners in the champagne industry sparked fear that they could put profit before quality in their wines. However, “just one year later, Claude’s nephew, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, who had always been opposed to the sale, negotiated a €660m deal with the Starwood Group, and the Taittinger family resumed ownership of the company.”[3] Therefore, Taittinger champagne house remains one of the family-owned houses to date.


The region where Taittinger champagne house is located has a rich history in winemaking. The region is France’s central champagne-producing region and home to many champagne houses. Romans occupied the areas which also hosted people of different nobilities, including emperors, popes, and kings. Reims was also the center for major wars, including World War I and II.

Figure 2: Champagne Taittinger Brut Vintage Wine Bottle by Dominic Lockyer

Taittinger Wines

Taittinger champagne house wines have a high percentage of Chardonnay “40% in the Brut Réserve Non-Vintage to 100% in the prestigious Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs.”[4] The house offers year-round tours where they illustrate the Art of Champagne making. The house boasts more than 288 acres of vines, making it one of the houses with the largest vineyards. These vines supply the need for the house in annual champagne production. The large acres of vines allow the house to maintain quality wines. While the house’s wines are a bit expensive, they are well received in the market due to their quality. The house’s Comtes de Champagne is renowned and loved in France and the world.

This Day in Wine History

June 5, 1756 – On this day, Jean-Antoine Chaptal was born. Chaptal was a French agronomist, chemist, educator, physician, and philanthropist. He was heavily involved in French industrialization and the French revolution. Chaptal was the first person to author a book on industrial chemistry. He was the first to commercially manufacture and supply sulfuric acid in France.[5] Besides, Chaptal aided in the development of the Metric system. Another achievement was pioneering one of France’s chemical factories manufacturing different acids, including hydrochloric, nitric, and sulfuric acid. His experience and skills were also felt in the French viticulture and winemaking industry. Chaptal made several winemaking publications that the French winemaking industry adopted with impressive success. Chaptal’s publication after 1799 revolutionized the French oenology industry. His research and experiments led to the discovery that adding sugar to wine improved it and” helped in preservation. The practice is called Chaptalization in his honor. Today, his name is engraved in the Eiffel tower among the 72 most famous French citizens.

October 4, 1887 – On this day, Pierre-Charles Taittinger was born. His family, who wanted to maintain French citizenship, moved to Paris from Lorraine after the German empire annexed it. Taittinger served as an officer with the French army and contributed to France’s liberation from Germany. In 1915, he was assigned to the chief of staff of General de Castelnau, based at the Chateau de la Marquetterie, in the heart of champagne vineyards. Taittinger fell in love with the location and returned after the war to set his home there. In 1932, he bought several properties, including the Forest-Fourneaux champagne house. Taittinger continued Champagne making in Forest-Fourneaux but was also involved in politics. With time, his political engagements increased, and he had to depend on his sons, Francois, Jean, and Claude, to run Forest-Fourneaux. In 1945, his son Francois immersed himself into winemaking running operations at Forest-Fourneaux. Francois changed the house’s name to the family name Taittinger. The house has been referred to as Taittinger since then. Today, the house is run by Pierre’s great-grandchildren.

December 2, 2021 – On this day, the most expensive Champagne ever sold at an auction was sold at Christie’s London auction. The bottle of wine, Perrier-Jouet, was auctioned after 147 years in the cellars. The extremely rare vintage also made history before in 1888 when it became the most expensive Champagne to be auctioned at the time. The 1874 vintage fetched 57000 dollars at the auction; 37000 more than its intended price.[6] The high price illustrates the reputation of Champagne’s rare vintages. Aged Champagne provides more richness boosting its palatability compared to new wine.

This Day in the Famous Wine Auctions


[1] Claude Taittinger, Champagne Par Taittinger (Paris: Stock, 1996).

[2] Eat Love Savor, “Discover the World of Taittinger Champagne | EAT LOVE SAVOR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine,” EAT LOVE SAVOR, May 12, 2014, https://www.eatlovesavor.com/discover-world-taittinger-champagne/.

[3] Cult Wines, “Taittinger,” Cult Wines, 2022, https://www.wineinvestment.com/learn/wine/champagne/taittinger/#:~:text=History.

[4] Flagship Wines, “Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne | Flagship Wines | Delivery,” Flagship Wines, 2022, https://flagshipwines.co.uk/product/taittinger-brut-reserve-nv-champagne/.

[5] Jeff Horn and Margaret C. Jacob, “Jean-Antoine Chaptal and the Cultural Roots of French Industrialization,” Technology and Culture 39, no. 4 (October 1998): 671, https://doi.org/10.2307/1215844.

[6] Mike Pomranz, “This Is the Most Expensive Bottle of Champagne Christie’s Auction House Has Ever Sold,” Food & Wine, December 7, 2021, https://www.foodandwine.com/news/christies-record-champagne-bottle-auction.

Categories: Champagne, This Day in Wine History | ArticlesTags: , , , , By Published On: February 19, 2023Last Updated: February 19, 2023

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