EVENTS | 27 September 2021

Champagne Bollinger
Interview with Ginette de Fleuriot CWM


We had the pleasure of interviewing Ginette de Fleuriot, Cape Wine Master and Marketing Manager for Vinimark Wine Company.

Lily Bollinger is revered as one of the great ladies of Champagne – a traditionally male dominated world.

What are your favourite Champagne Bollinger stories?

Ginette:  The Sans Souci story encapsulates all that is Bollinger for me… a non-negotiable commitment to excellence. In 1883 the economy was gloom and doom; champagne sales were dropping. In addition, the recent Franco-Prussian war had resulted in anti-French sentiments, which was a challenge for the Bollinger agent in Berlin. So, he proposed a complete re-branding for the German market; Bollinger was to be known as Sans Souci. Jacques Bollinger, however, refused to compromise. “The wine must be known by the name of Bollinger, and non other.”

Then of course there’s Lily Bollinger, who took over as head of the House upon the death of her husband in 1941 and managed to hold everything together despite WW11. Her first harvest coincided with the end of the war and perhaps symbolically, it was an exceptional vintage. She is revered as one of the great ladies of Champagne – a traditionally male dominated world. She ran the company for 30 years and launched my personal favourite Bollinger RD. Amusingly, Lily refused to make a rosé because she deemed it the ‘drink of prostitutes’!

You mentioned that Bollinger R.D. 2007 is your favourite – why?

"A magnificent, unique expression of Champagne."

Ginette:  Only the very best vintages are elevated to the level of Bollinger R.D. (recently disgorged) and the 2007 vintage is such a complete wine. When I first tasted it, I tried to tease it apart and find the flavours, but it was such a magnificent, unique expression of Champagne.

What should every Bolly lover know?

"More Bolly, dahlings?' is a phrase any Ab Fab fan will remember."

Ginette:  Well, the Queen of England loves it. Bollinger R.D. 1973, an exceptional vintage, was the Champagne selected for HRH Prince Charles of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding.

Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders from the show Absolutely Fabulous, also love it. “More Bolly, dahlings?” is a phrase any Ab Fab fan will remember.

Then, there’s 007. Bollinger and James Bond is a legendary collaboration that has spanned 40 years. In fact, look out for the new 007 movie No Time To Die, in cinemas 30 September!

Apart from the new Bond movie, is there anything else we can look forward to?

"A special vintage B 13, which stands for Bollinger 2013."

Ginette: – The release of B 13 is exciting. In 2013, Champagne faced a long, cold winter, which resulted in a particularly late harvest… and a special vintage B 13, which stands for Bollinger 2013.


Ginette de Fleuriot is a Cape Wine Master and is Marketing Manager for Vinimark Wine Company. Her one area of specialty is Champagnes, and she handles the Champagne portfolio for Vinimark. Ginette began her career in wine in Germany, working in wine retail, wine education and freelance journalism.

A lecturer for the Cape Wine Academy, Ginette has also been a contributor to the Platter Wine Guide and several other publications. She has served as a wine judge on numerous competitions and panels including Veritas, SAA Wine Selection panel, Diners Club Wine List Awards, the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, the Nederburg Auction Selection panel, the Value Wine Guide, ULTRA Value Wine Challenge and the Top100 SA Wine Challenge. Ginette created the digital training platform Wine Smart for Vinimark staff, suppliers and clients and produces all content.

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