Charles-Camille Heidsieck was an adventurous man, full of dare and determination, who let no obstacles stand in his way
Hard-working and creative, he founded his own company in 1851 and worked all his life to give his wines a reputation of the highest quality. In 1852 he was one of the first Champagne company owners to go to New York, where his charm and self-assurance seduced the Americans, who gave him the nickname Champagne Charlie, and his wines were welcomed with enthusiasm. By 1857 success was at hand and the company was shipping almost 300,000 bottles a year to America.
Charles-Camille Heidsieck conquered Champagne lovers around the world, not only with his peerless business acumen, but also with the quality of his wines. Always innovating, he was one of the first to use machine-made bottles that didn't explode during the maturation process. He recognized the value of patiently ageing vintages before selling them, and he purchased crayeres, or chalk cellars, to shelter his bottles from the effects of climate variations.
The brand has been part of the Remy-Cointreau group since 1985 and it continues to share its passion for wine, the audacity and pioneering sprit of its founder, and its desire to bring the French art de vivre to the world.
The greatness of the wines of Champagne comes in part from the richness of its vineyards, the cradle of three grape varieties which make up the raw materials of Champagne blends
Chardonnay, a white grape with white juice imparts finesse, elegance and freshness to the wine with subtle floral accents. Pinot Meunier is a red grape with white juice. This grape's expression of the soil and its marked character give structure to blends. It brings notes of very ripe fruit and ageing to the wine. Pinot Noir is a red grape with white juice that gives structure to blends. Aromas of pitted fruits, evolving toward dried and candied fruit.
Taking full advantage of the richness of the land of Champagne is essential to the Charles Heidsieck company. Charles Heidsieck therefore maintains privileged relations with the most experienced winegrowers. From among the 323 Champagne vineyards, Charles Heidsieck can purchase grapes from almost 120 vineyards each year, providing the largest possible palette for composing each season's blend.
The Champagne winegrowing region, whose AOC limits were defined in 1927, is thus a precious gift for winegrowers and Champagne companies. This is why the Champagne region now uses sustainable agricultural methods as a way to protect the quality of the land. After the grapes are pressed, the juice or must is cleansed of impurities and placed in vats.
At Charles Heidsieck each grape variety and vineyard batch is fermented separately
Charles Heidsieck's secret is the bringing together of human talent with technical progress to create a winery that is unique in the Champagne region, and that gives winemakers tools to improve wine quality. This exceptional facility has 206 stainless steel vats, at the center of which is the tasting room where all of Charles Heidsieck's wines are developed. An enormous storage capacity means that the musts can be treated vineyard by vineyard, variety by variety.
The chalk that is found in the ground of the Champagne region is not only an asset for the grapevines, but also for the wine itself. During the Gallo-Roman period almost 2000 years ago, the crayeres were dug under the city of Reims to extract chalk needed for building. Today only a few of the larger winemakers can use these cellars, which have become an ideal site to age the great wines of Champagne. Charles Heidsieck owns one of Champagne's most beautiful crayere sites in the city of Reims itself. Twenty meters underground, a network of tunnels and forty-seven rooms provides enough space to store all of Charles Heidsieck's bottles.
Charles Heidsieck strives to retain itself as a moderately sized Champagne House putting an emphasis on wine quality over wine quantity. Today, the prizes conferred upon Charles Heidsieck are proof that this goal has been achieved.