The Lily Bollinger Award was established in 2002 by Bollinger and Arvid Nordquist [importer of Bollinger on the Swedish market] to encourage female competition sommelier. The name of course honors the legendary champagne widow Lily Bollinger who for many decades was not only a brilliant ambassador for Bollinger but also for the entire district. Since then, the competition has gained a high national status and the prestigious title ‘Lily Bollinger of the Year’ has meant a boost in the careers of many of our Swedish female sommelier.
Previous participants include, for example, Béatrice Becher, Maya Samuelsson, Emma Ziemann, Daniella Lundh Egenäs, Ulrik Ferlin, Ellen Franzén, Tina Johansson, etc. In the 2019 final, Maja Hempel from Thörnström’s kitchen in Gothenburg won the title of Sweden’s best female sommelier.
The Covid-10 factor
The past year has been a strange year and we know that many of the participants in the Lily Bollinger Award have struggled due to the restrictions introduced since Covid-19. Canceling the competition for 2020 was a tough but necessary decision as the current situation looked. Despite the restrictions continuing during the autumn, Arvid Nordquist and Bollinger have an ambition to carry out the competition in 2021, albeit with greater safety thinking and distance. Of course taking into account the prevailing situation during the planning and carry out the competition as safely as possible.
However, some changes for this year’s competition will take place, Eva Nina Hammarskjöld has after five years chosen to leave the Lily Bollinger Award. Eva Nina has done a fantastic job for the Lily Bollinger Award and always had the best of the contestants in mind. Arvid Nordquist therefore wants to take this opportunity to thank Eva Nina for the years that have been and for everything she has contributed to the competition and wish her luck in future projects.
New Competition and Participant Manager Lily Bollinger Award
That is why we now welcome Emma Ziemann, accustomed to competition sommelier and winner of the Lily Bollinger Award 2016, who will take over from Eva Nina. With her broad knowledge in sommelier and inspiring personality, we believe that Emma will be able to continue to develop the competition in a very good way. We wish Emma a warm welcome and look forward to the work ahead of the Lily Bollinger Award 2021.
Some dates during the year:
- May 3: Last day to register for the semifinals
- May 31: Semifinal
- September 20: Final
Selection and final are structured in three parts;
- A theory section,
- a blind test
- a practical part.
In terms of points, the three parts weigh about equally and the degree of difficulty is on a par with national and international sommelier competitions. The knock-out stage of the competition takes place behind closed doors. During the final, the theoretical parts take place on day one and the practical parts take place before the audience on day two.
IN ALL ITS GLORY
In addition to the honorary title ‘Lily Bollinger of the Year’, the winner will receive an educational trip to the historic champagne house Bollinger and a bike of the brand Stålhästen. The bicycle symbolizes Lily Bollinger, the woman behind the champagne house Bollinger, who constantly guarded her vineyard on two wheels.
THE STORY OF MADAME BOLLINGER
Even when Elisabeth married Jacques Bollinger, she embraced both champagne and the vineyard with reverence and passion. When her husband unexpectedly passed away in 1941, she was left alone and no doubt took over the winery. Today she is named as one of Champagne’s great women and managed in a male-dominated arena to both run and develop the winery.
Within the family she became known as ‘Aunt Lily’, in the villages around Aÿ as ‘Mrs. Jacques’ and to the world one of Champagne’s great women.
On November 10, 1923, Jacques Bollinger, the grandson of Joseph Jacob – better known as Jaques Bollinger, co-founder of the champagne house a century earlier – married Elisabeth Law de Lauriston-Boubers. Even at the wedding, she embraced both the champagne and the vineyard with reverence and passion. Almost twenty years after the wedding, Jacques passes away unexpectedly and without an heir, she does not hesitate when she took over the winery.
During the German occupation of Champagne, Madame Bollinger bravely and firmly led the house through the war. When the region was recovering after the war, the discreet Bollinger House needed to be revived. Every now and then she decided to conquer America with her characteristic style and determination. The itinerary became a very selected tour of the United States to introduce the Americans to a champagne that has long been appreciated on the other side of the canal, in England.
On October 25, Madame Bollinger boarded the passenger ship Liberté with destination New York. For two months, she traveled the length and breadth of America’s most famous facilities. She tirelessly met journalists and personalities, held champagne tastings, told people about her home region and aroused the enthusiasm of her guests. No matter where Madame Bollinger went, her impeccable English (her father’s mother tongue), her European style and her professional attitude charmed everyone she met.
When she boarded the legendary Queen Mary on December 21, 1951 to return to Aÿ, she had completed her mission. America, which had fallen for Edith Piaf a few months earlier, had also fallen for ‘Aunt Lily’ and her champagne. To such an extent that in 1961 she was dubbed France’s first lady in Chicago’s American.
Style can also be found in the most unexpected places. Dignified but still simple regardless of the occasion, Lily Bollinger crossed her “territory” on a bike everyone was familiar with. Not only in Aÿ, although it is what she is best known for, but also on the other side of the world. Her bike was so integrated into her personality that Bollinger’s importer in the USA ordered a crocodile skin saddle from Hermès with the initials LLB for Lily Lauriston Bollinger. She used her gift with discretion and modesty. Today, the saddle is one of the collection on display at the museum in the house in Aÿ.
More Bollinger articles;