Dom Thierry Ruinart was an intuitive, visionary, hardworking, and modest Benedictine monk who lived from 1657-1709 and was a contemporary of Louis XIV. A brilliant theologian and historian, at the age of 23 he left his home in Champagne to go to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the most influential centers of learning near Paris. While there, he was exposed to the city and court where he gained an awareness of a more worldly life and in-particular he learned of a new “wine with bubbles,” not yet known as champagne, which was already popular among young aristocrats.
Dom Ruinart was an author of scholarly works, but also had a taste for the contemporary and his inquiring mind went hand in hand with a keen business sense. Throughout his life, he would visit his brother and home in Champagne and these diverse observations instilled in him the conviction that "wine with bubbles" produced from the vines of his native soil – also known as “vin de mousse” or sparkling wine – had a promising future. He passed on this conviction to his brother and his nephew.
In 1729, twenty years after the death of Dom Ruinart, Nicolas Ruinart, Dom Ruinart's nephew, founded the first Champagne House, Maison Ruinart, and forever ingrained his uncle's name and the house in the history books.
This success of the House of Ruinart was founded on a discreet yet consequential revolution. The Royal Decree of May 25, 1728 whereby Louis XV gave his consent for sparkling wines to be shipped in baskets containing 50 to 100 bottles.
Prior to this decree, lack of investment in glass bottles made it so that they were too fragile to be shipped outside of the Champagne region.
The Royal ruling of 1728 opened the gates of Europe to this spirited wine.
Nicolas Ruinart, a Reims draper like his father, started his first account ledger devoted to "wine with bubbles" on September 1st, 1729.
This ledger serves as the birth certificate for the first Champagne House ever created. The first bottles of “wine with bubbles” produced were intended as gifts for Nicolas Ruinart’s clients who purchased cloth and fabric.
However, Nicolas was a sophisticated businessman and he had adopted his uncle’s pioneering vision and ambition for “wine with bubbles,” and just six years after the initial bottles were produced he found success.
In 1735, Maison Ruinart abandoned the cloth trade to concentrate on the burgeoning champagne trade. This became Nicolas's sole occupation and growth was exponential with 170 bottles sold in 1730, 3,000 bottles in 1731, 36,000 in 1761, and onwards.
Ennobled and having taken the name Ruinart de Brimont in 1817, the Ruinart family has run the House steadfastly for over two centuries. Each generation has produced a Head of House with singular talents devoted to upholding the family tradition started by Dom Ruinart, its Inspiration, and his nephew, Nicolas, its founder. Their successors demonstrate the enduring character of Maison Ruinart, and also its ability to welcome strong and varied personalities to enrich their expertise: Claude the Traveller, François Irénée the Administrator, Edmond the American, Edgard the Market Maker, Charles the Communicator, André the Rebuilder... and many more besides.
On April 12, 1817, Louis XVIII granted nobility to François Irénée Ruinart. With the letters of nobility, the King also granted François the heraldic crest which has appeared on the labels of Ruinart bottles ever since.
Explore the coat of arms to reveal its secrets
Mary Kate Charlotte Riboldi, Viscountess Ruinart de Brimont, was one of the most remarkable family members in this lineage. On the death of her husband, André Ruinart, this Englishwoman - orphaned at an early age and from a modest background – energetically took the helm of the House from 1919 to 1925, until her son was old enough to succeed her.
Elegantly, but firmly, she put the House back on its feet following the terrible destruction of the First World War.