In the heart of the Côtes des Blanc at Vertus, the second largest wine growing region in Champagne (after Les Riceys) in France, the Duval-Leroy family have been producing some of the finest wines in the world since 1859. In 1911, Duval-Leroy was the first champagne house to elaborate a Premier Cru, known as Fleur de Champagne 1er Cru. Today, it has 200 hectares of vineyards producing mainly Chardonnay Grand Crus. The current head of the house is Carol Duval-Leroy, a passionate woman who has transformed Duval-Leroy in the last ten years from a family-run business into a top champagne house.
Born 1955 in Belgium, Carol Duval-Leroy (then Nilens) studied economics at the University of Brussels. As a teenager, she frequently visited the Champagne region with her family because of the Rotary Club. During one of the dinners, she met and fell in live with Jean-Charles Duval-Leroy, the son of local champagne grape growing family. After finishing university, they soon married and she became a champenois wife, and helped out in the vineyard and took care of the vintage workers who came to stay during vintage. Carol immediately took an active role in the family wine business.
In 1991, Carol’s husband died from terminal cancer at just 39 years old. Jean-Charles turned over the management of the business to his wife until his sons are old enough to handle the business. Under Carol’s care, Duval-Leroy was established as a worldwide brand. Today, Duval-Leroy is in 200 Michelin Star restaurants in France. In 1991, they had an annual production of 2,5 million bottles. Today, they produce about 5 million bottles and have expanded their market to Asia and the United States.
One of the last independent family-owned champagne houses, Duval-Leroy keeps tradition alive with vintage and non-vintage cuvee but has also adapted to the modern market with its line of organic and bio-dynamically produced wines.