A brief history of our eaux-de-vie
Cognac might have made a name for itself with its wine and salt trading while the Cognaçais, proud of their nickname: 'cagouillard' (snail ), enjoyed a slow pace of life, had it not been for the river Charente, dubbed 'my kingdom's nicest' by King Henry the IVth.
The XVIIIth century saw the first exports to Holland, England, North America and the Far East.Trading Houses created in the XIXth century began to ship their products in bottles and no longer in casks. This was the start of yet another economic cycle, leading to the creation of factories producing bottles, boxes, corks and labels. Cognac was fast becoming a major trade and export centre.
At the end of the XIXth century, a major crisis hit the region, with the onset of the infamous phylloxera, a fungus that spread throughout the vineyards, destroying them. In 1888, a French scientist traveled to Dennison, Texas, where he found the long termcure to phylloxera. The Cognac merchants led the way in replanting, partly from American vines, while helping growers with plants, fertilisers and advice...
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the cure of phylloxera in 1988, Dennison, Texas and Cognac, France, became sister cities. Meanwhile, in the historic part of the town of Cognac, the rue 'Saulnier' (salt trader in old French) remains the only witness to the town's original trade.