Champagne Deutz was founded in 1838 in Aÿ by William Deutz and Pierre-Hubert Geldermann, both from Aachen. When, at the end of the 1860’s, René Deutz and Alfred Geldermann inherited the business from their fathers, the firm prospered, enjoying significant expansion on the international stage, mainly in Great Britain, Germany and Russia. During the Second French Empire, Deutz took its place amongst the great Champagne producers, becoming one of the founding members of the Syndicat des Grandes Marques (an association of major brands) in 1882. In 1906, René Lallier, the son-in-law of René Deutz, and Charles Van Cassel, the son-in-law of Marie Deutz-Geldermann, took charge of the firm which had to confront many difficulties during this third generation, including the vine-growers riots of April 1911.
SURVIVAL AFTER TWO WORLD WARS AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION
When the depression struck in the 1930’s, annual production at Deutz dropped to 80,000 bottles, a figure lower than during the dark days of the First World War. Disaster was averted thanks to Marie Deutz who invested a major part of her fortune in the company. Production started to climb back upwards and continued during the Second World War. In 1938, the son of René Lallier, Jean, took over the reins of the firm. In June 1940, when the Germany army occupied the Champagne region, times were difficult. Nonetheless, the firm’s philosophy remained the same: to produce blends of constant character, bestowing the quality and style of the firm on all the wines adorned by the Deutz label. Deutz required a regular source of grapes equal to its ambitions. Little by little, plot by plot, as the generations succeeded each other, the firm bought land in the Champagne region in the best wine-making areas: Mesnil sur Oger, Bisseuil, Pierry, Aÿ, amongst others. In 1972, the son of Jean Lallier, André, became Chairman and Managing Director.
RETURNING TO CORE VALUES
In 1996, Roederer became the main shareholder of Deutz and Fabrice Rosset took charge of the firm. Whilst continuing the work accomplished by his predecessors, Fabrice Rosset refocused the business of the firm on its core activity, implementing an uncompromising quality policy, but at the same time safeguarding the Deutz style, concentrating on the supply of the fruit (exclusively from the terroirs of great and first growths). He thus proceeded with modernising the production tool. In total, more than 10 million euros have been invested since 1996. From 600,000 bottles in 1996, production reached 1.8 million bottles in 2010. In autumn 2010, major works started to equip the firm with new presses, reaching a winemaking capacity of 9,000 cases and 3.5 million bottles in the maturing cellars. The aim is to “continue to develop the firm, with a realistic outlook” as Fabrice Rosset likes to point out. In the next five years, he is aiming for the goal of 2.5 million bottles of, as always, elegant champagnes that faithfully reflect the purest of the Deutz style.