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Bernard de Nonancourt, the president of champagne group Laurent-Perrier, died on Friday evening aged 90. De Nonancourt discovered half a million bottles of plundered French wine in Germany while he was serving in the French Resistance.
In 1945, Sergeant de Nonancourt blew open the steel door of Hitler's wine cellar near Eagle’s Nest, in Bavaria.
He and his men found hundreds of cases of 1928 Salon champagne that he had seen being stolen by German soldiers five years before.
De Nonancourt ran Laurent-Perrier for more than 50 years. His mother, Marie-Louise Lanson de Nonancourt, bought a small champagne company in 1938. Maurice de Nonancourt, the older brother of Bernard, was meant to take over, but he died in a concentration camp during the Second World War.
Bernard de Nonancourt's two daughters, Alexandra and Stéphanie, will take over the business.