Ackerman and Saumur

A pioneering company

The first House of fine bubbles in the Loire Valley

Ackerman is the heir to the Ackerman-Laurance firm founded in 1811 by Jean Baptiste Ackerman and Jean Pierre Apollinaire Laurance-Olivier, a skilled grain and wine merchant in Saumur. Jean Baptiste, of Belgian origin, brought to the trading house his perfect knowledge of the North European markets and his network. In Saumur, he deepened his knowledge of the grape varieties, the cellars and the wines of the Loire. He established solid relationships with vineyard owners, industrialists and merchants in the area. He negotiated and exported the best red and white wines from the hillsides of Saumur and the vineyards of Tours, but he did not yet produce “champagne-style” wines. This trading house prospered under the Restoration and the alliance between the two men was no longer limited to trading. In 1829, Jean Baptiste married the daughter of his partner, Emilie Laurance. He then took over the management of a family trading house, firmly rooted in the Saumur region but open to the outside world.  
Jean Baptiste Ackerman
Jean Baptiste Ackerman, founder of Ackerman-Laurance
Signature Jean-Baptiste Ackerman

Jean Baptiste Ackerman's signature "champagne-like" wines from Saumur!

Jean Baptiste Ackerman finds in the wines of Tours and Saumur predispositions to make “champagne-like” wines. The wines “foam” naturally. In 1831, he experimented with the champagnisation of wines from white grape varieties from the Loire Valley and perfected the traditional method. He marketed his first bottles, only a few hundred, in 1834.

The quest for Ackerman-Laurance wines: a modern industrial and commercial adventure

The industrialization of fine sparkling wines: a development made in Ackerman-Laurance

In 1840, Jean Baptiste Ackerman acquired “troglodyte” cellars in Saint-Hilaire Saint-Florent, on the banks of the Thouet, where the small river meets the Loire. The cellars are optimal for storing and making his “sparkling” wines: cool and constant temperature, low light, large storage capacity. With Jean Baptiste Ackerman, the troglodyte cellars found a second life and became the typical production and marketing place for fine bubbly wines of the Loire Valley. From the middle of the 19th century onwards, the number of sparkling wine houses multiplied and they settled on either side of the Ackerman-Laurance cellars. These cellars were the heart of a new economic activity and were veritable factories where men and women, with their unique know-how, drew the wine, turned, disgorged and labeled the bottles of fine bubbly wines that were exported all over the world by the light of candles. Today, the cellars bear witness to the daily activities of the workers of the wine houses until the middle of the 20th century. They are a key element in the natural and industrial landscape of the Saumur region and constitute a unique heritage on the banks of the longest river in France, classified as a World Heritage Site: the Loire.

The cellars of the Ackerman House are no longer the place where our wines are produced, but they remain the soul of the company. Places of memory and history to discover, the cellars are also a convivial space with its residence for contemporary artists, its events and shows and its cellar where you can taste the whole range of fine bubbles bearing the image of Ackerman. Enjoy an experience full of sensations, emotions and memories.

Publicité Ackerman Laurance
Publicité Ackerman Saumur

Ackerman-Laurance to conquer the world

In the 1850s, after several years of perseverance, the Ackerman-Laurance House was no longer a small trading company. It was the first sparkling wine house in the Loire Valley. Jean Baptiste Ackerman brought his son, Louis Ferdinand, into the family business. Together, they directed the production and marketing of fine bubbly wines towards England, creating a legendary brand: Royal. The brand, available in Brut Royal and Dry Royal, was a huge success on the island and its empire, and soon found its way onto the finest tables the world over, from Europe to the Americas. In 1863, Jean Baptiste handed over the reins of Ackerman-Laurance to Louis Ferdinand, exhausted by a lifetime’s work in the service of his dream. By 1866, Louis Ferdinand was alone at the head of a rapidly expanding industry. He took advantage of the opening up of world trade to develop his business and make the name and wines of Ackerman-Laurance known everywhere. He competed with the Champagne houses and waged an innovative and fierce advertising battle. He created many new brands and built up a solid network of ambassadors and loyal customers. This was the golden age of Ackerman-Laurance. “Advertising remains at the heart of our business and we continue to innovate every day to present our creations in an elegant and surprising way, just like our bubbles”.

A company that modernizes at the dawn of the 20th century

In 1894, Ackerman-Laurance was a limited company with a capital of 3 million francs. A fortune! Louis Ferdinand remained the head of the company but he relied on a close advisor, Raymond de Luze, as well as his son-in-law Charles Elie de Laulanié. In 1901, the company opened a store in Paris, then a world city. In 1911, the company celebrated its centenary in London on the occasion of the Wine Trade Benevolement Society Congress. Maison Ackerman-Laurance was at the heart of the two most important cultural, economic and commercial capitals of the world. The dream of the founder, Jean Baptiste Ackerman, became a reality at the dawn of the First World War.

Ackerman is a historic wine house, the founder of the Loire Valley fine bubble wine industry and a rich heritage. But it is also a 21st century company, looking to the future. Ackerman cannot forget its roots in the Saumur region and the vital elements on which its longevity and prosperity are based: its winegrowers, its employees and its customers.


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