The Krug House opens its doors to the public for the European Heritage Days on September 20 and 21 2014
Life in the cellars of Krug at the time of the World War 1
For its first participation in European Heritage Days, and as part of the centenary of the First World War, the Krug House opens its doors just and invites visitors to experience life in the cellars of Reims between 1914 and 1918.
“I shared the preparation of these days with some emotion. Beyond a story that is close to me, I saw the testimony of many families in Reims, also particularly affected, courageous and generous. Like most Krug´s employees, I find a source of inspiration and constant determination. “Olivier Krug, the sixth generation of the family and head of Krug
“It was just to make a modest tribute and express our gratitude to those who have often crossed seas and continents to come and die on our land champagne.
Despite the vicissitudes of war, the courageous civilian population of Reims will organize their daily lives partly in the cellars of Krug where everyone can find shelter to sleep, eat, study or religious services.
Their footprints will never fade from our memories. “Jean-Claude Narcy, Chairman of the sponsorship committee for the Mission of the centenary of the First World War
An exhibition in the Krug cellars
Curated by Fabienne Moreau, Krug historian, archival elements were brought together to form a new exhibition.
Newly discovered photographs are exhibited in underground spaces, where they were taken, there is a century of them. Period documents and correspondence also punctuate this journey that concludes with the Caveau Collection where they keep copies of the latest vintages 1914 and 1915.
Employees of Krug will be guides for the occasion. They will tell the story of their house founded in 1843, and daily from their predecessors and Reims refugees in caves during the four years of war.
“Sharing the Story of the Great War through that of a family, a community of employees, soldiers and civilian refugees mere succession of demanding contemporary mission. More than ever the memory of the past is the future … “Fabienne Moreau, Krug Heritage Lead
The commitment of a family of Reims
Early in the conflict, Joseph Krug, head of the Krug House, the son of the founder, is drafted into the French army, while his brother Henry, a captain in the 49th Battalion of Chasseurs was killed in the initial fighting in Ardennes 31 August 1914 Taken prisoner, he is being held in Prussia. Greatly weakened by the conditions of his detention, he was finally released in the spring of 1917 and transferred to Switzerland for treatment.
His wife Jeanne Krug, supported by this staff, manages to maintain activity while coming to the aid of Reims, war victims. Determined and generous woman, she is involved with the Red Cross to treat the wounded soldiers at the Val de Grace military hospital and in various near Reims. Jeanne Krug also assumes the role of head of the family, deputizing for the absence of her husband with whom she manages to maintain a regular correspondence. In March 1917, she traveled to Montana in Switzerland with her husband.
Back in Paris in the summer of 1917, Joseph and Jeanne Krug together ensure the management of the company and organize the evacuation. At the end of the war, Jeanne Krug continues her commitment to the Reims population, and actively participates in the creation of the work « Retour à Reims » (Back to Reims), then the foundation of the American Memorial Hospital in Reims for children and region.
Daily life in the cellars
From September 1914 to November 1918, Reims suffered 1,151 days of bombing. The Krug family shares the fate of millions of French war-affected. It supports families of its employees under the flags, put his local to them and that of the population.
The inhabitants of Reims took refuge in the cellars where life is organized. In the Krug´s cellars, by the light of candles and oil lamps, is responsible to read, cook, talk, knit to pass the time as they can. A class is open to 40 students and attended by local children. The temple of the Reformed Church near being destroyed, the Protestant community meets in one of the underground rooms of Krug called “the Crypt” to celebrate the offices.
“The class works well in our cellars. There are forty students, most little boys, two teachers for two divisions. “Henri Payen, Krug cellar master, in a letter to Jeanne Krug. Reims, January 25, 1915
“On Sunday, the Temple no longer exists, the pastor said the service in the crypt. All the Protestant colony in the city was in attendance, sitting in a circle on a box as a bench. “Alice Martin, Sous les obus et dans les caves – Notes of a bombed Reims people. 1914 Beauchesne Edition
The harvest in 1914 and 1915, despite the exceptional circumstances in which they take place, allow the development of two vintages which Krug keeps a few bottles in their cellars, in the Caveau Collection. When war begin in August 1914, the harvest looks very qualitative, of such quality that they had not seen since 1907.
The wines of 1915 are also a great vintage. The grape harvest in some areas has been a few hundred meters of trenches and under bombardment. The wines could not be repatriated in Reims in the Krug cellars, they are kept in institutions partners house winemakers. Jeanne Krug inform her husband of the advancing harvest of wine quality, and forwards Joseph Krug recommendations to the Cellars Chief for supplies and assemblies.
In 1915, she notes: “Every time I talk about wines from 1914 and 1915, I raise the admiration of all for valiant producers and traders.”
About the Krug Champagne House
The history of Krug illustrates the amazing adventure of a visionary. Joseph Krug, its founder, was an unconventional man with an unwavering determination and a free philosophy of compromise, who was able to understand the essence of champagne. Beyond the expectations of his time, he wanted to offer its customers the most generous expression of Champagne Krug, year after year, regardless of the chances of the climate, and share it with colleagues and their families, city and region and of course champagne lovers worldwide. By providing a vast library of reserve wines, Joseph Krug founded the first champagne house to exclusively develop prestige brands. Since 1843, six generations of the Krug family have perpetuated his vision and expanded its expertise.
The history of Krug also illustrates that a house and a family resolutely involved in the economic, cultural and institutional life of their city and their region.
- Curator: Fabienne Moreau, Heritage Head
- Address: Champagne Krug, entry 1, Coquebert Street, 51100 Reims
- Opening hours: Saturday, September 20 from 10am to 18h continuous (last departure 17.30) Sunday, September 21: 14pm to 18pm (last departure at 17:30)
- The tours are free (no reservation).