History of the Family
Once occupied by Cistercian monks from Clairvaux Abbey, the seat of the House includes some magnificent 12th-century vaulted cellars. Moving on to the more recent past, the ancestral tree of the Drappier Family nevertheless has its roots in the 17th century, with the birth in 1604 of Rémy Drappier, who like Nicolas Ruinart becomes a cloth merchant in Reims. His grandson Nicolas (1669-1724) is a public prosecutor in the reign of Louis XIV. One must wait until 1803 for one of the ancestors of the House, François, to move to Urville and begin working a vineyard which today extends over 55 hectares, without counting a dozen contractual arrangements with other growers in the Côte des Bar, the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs.
In Urville, at the beginning of the 1930’s, the vineyard suddenly erupts with heated discussions. This is when the descendant of that time, Georges Collot, maternal grandfather of Michel, the present head of the House, is the first to decide to plant Pinot Noir in the region…
His decision causes some amusement and he is nicknamed “Father Pinot”. In the meantime this grape variety is grown in 70% of Drappier’s vineyards and almost three quarters of grape production in the local area… History has proved the mockers wrong.
Adapted from “Champagne, a pleasure shared”, Eric Glâtre, Edition HOEBEKE, 2001 (2008 edition).
In 1952 André and Micheline Drappier launch the Carte d’Or cuvée with its distinctive yellow label. This reminds one of quince jelly, a yellow fruit of which several aromatic notes are found in every bottle.
After the historic frost of 1957 (95% of the potential yield destroyed), André introduces Pinot Meunier, more resistant to icy spring weather. Even so, it is a 100% Pinot Noir Drappier cuvée which will captivate General de Gaulle for his family enjoyment at Colombey-les-deux-Églises.
In 1968 Micheline has the idea of introducing a rosé Champagne. It too will be 100% Pinot Noir and in a clear glass bottle, a feminine touch which is still very rare at this time. Forty years later the DRAPPIER Rosé has enjoyed true success, taking it to the Elysée Palace.
Since 1979 Michel DRAPPIER has been controlling the wine-making process while André, with a lifetime’s experience of harvests behind him, keeps a watchful eye over the vineyards which today cover a thousand “hommées” (53 hectares) of land owned by the domaine and 50 hectares in contractual arrangements with other growers. In 1988 deep cellars dug out of the Reims limestone in the reign of Napoleon III become part of the family ownership to house the prestigious cuvées.
Since then, three young buds born of Michel and Sylvie, Charline in 1989, Hugo in 1991 and Antoine in 1996, represent the eighth generation in the domaine. Two hundred years of climatic and economic hazards have not diminished the passion which animates a Champagne family with its roots in this soil worked a thousand times over. The old vine stock where the best sap rises, the shoots bearing the fruit and the little sprouts, delicate but full of hope, thank you for your loyalty during these two centuries and trust that, as we move towards the tricentenary, you will taste numerous lovely vintages.