Nicolas Feuillatte, the Champagne magnate, has died at the age of 88.
Feuillatte was the founder of the largest cooperative in Champagne. The Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne brand is the number one selling Champagne brand in France.
Feuillatte was born in Paris in 1926 and turned down the opportunity to inherit the family business, instead choosing to move to the US where he became the country's largest importer of African coffee. He also befriended many celebrities during his time in the US.
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When he returned to France in 1972 he took over a 12 hectare farm and began his Champagne career, originally producing Champagne to sell to his celebrity friends. He later linked up with Henri Macquart of the Centre Vinicole de Champagne and the company became Centre Vinicole Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte in 1986. Feuillatte himself continued to act as brand ambassador.
The company now has 80 cooperatives, 5,000 growers and over 2,200 hectares of vineyard. It is the third best selling Champagne in the world after Moet & Chandon and Veuve Cliquot; last year the company exported 10.4 million bottles and the brand is sold in around 80 countries.