Henri Krug, former head of Champagne Krug, has died of cancer aged 76.
Henri Krug, who died on 7 March, represented the fifth generation of the family to head Champagne Krug, passing the mantle of directeur de la maison to his younger brother Rémi when he retired in 2001, but still on hand to advise his son Olivier when he in turn took over from Rémi in 2007.
After retirement he remained a member of the tasting panel helping the winemaking team assemble the different Krug cuvées, as his father Paul had done before.
‘It is with profound sadness that we learned yesterday of the passing of Henri Krug,’ said Krug’s president and CEO Maggie Henriquez. ‘Our thoughts are with his family, especially his wife Odile and his five children, including Olivier and his brother Rémi.
‘Henri Krug was an emblematic person in the Champagne world, a man very well respected for his generosity and his convictions. Always striving to go further in the creation of his Champagnes, he contributed to the acceleration of the development of Krug across the globe.’
Krug worked closely with his more flamboyant brother Rémi during his 25 years leading the business, during which time they introduced Krug Rosé, Clos du Mesnil and most recently Clos d’Ambonnay.
They also oversaw the sale of Champagne Krug in 1999, when the house was bought from Remy-Cointreau by LVMH for a sum reported to be FF1,000m – about €150m at today’s rate.
The brothers’ skills were complementary. ‘People said we were like two halves of the same fruit,’ Rémi told French newspaper l’Union. ‘He was quiet, reserved, modest and a good listener.’
‘He had a great sense of commitment, he was a perfectionist and this guided his every move,’ his son Olivier said in l’Union.
Ghislain de Montgolfier, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne said, ‘Henri was one of the great Champenois of our time, he was a man of few words but he had a great presence. He was rigorous and a perfectionist – very meticulous – every detail counted. Together with his brother Remi he lifted the game in Champagne. He was no saint, but he was a genuinely good guy, a real family man.’
Krug is survived by his brother Rémi, his wife Odile and their five children: Olivier, Antoine, Bertrand, François and Pauline. A funeral service was held on Monday and a public memorial service will be held on Saturday in Reims.
Additional reporting by Caroline Henry
Written by Giles Fallowfield