From England To France
Back in 1550, the Hine family lived in Beaminster, Dorset, on the south coast of England. The family’s great cognac journey was to begin in the 18th century: Thomas Hine, a linen merchant, decided to send his son Thomas (one of 11 children) to France to learn French and the art of making cognac. At age 16, Thomas left his family home and headed for France, setting foot in Nantes in 1791. He then traveled to Bordeaux, where he stayed for a while before continuing to Jarnac, a small town just east of Cognac. Since 1763, Jarnac had been the base for the négociant’s premises where Thomas was to create his father’s favorite cognac. Not long after his arrival, Thomas Hine made the acquaintance of Elisabeth, the daughter of a famous cognac négociant, and fell in love. In 1796, at the age of 21, Thomas married Elisabeth and went on to have four children.
The Hine Family Legacy Begins
Thomas Hine earned a reputation for being a serious, hard worker, and his in-depth knowledge of finance and business, good commercial sense, and French and English skills gave him special status. He expanded what was to become the traditional business of the HINE company: making bespoke cognacs for English wine merchants. When his father-in-law died, his mother-in-law chose Thomas — rather than one of her own sons — to take charge of the family cognac business. In 1817, Thomas gave his name to the company: Thomas Hine & Co. Just five years later he died of pneumonia at the age of 47, 30 years after he first arrived in Jarnac. His eldest son, Thomas Georges, just old enough to take over the reins of the company, succeeded him, thus continuing the extraordinary story of the Hine family and HINE cognac.
Innovating With Cognac
Robert Hine, fifth generation (and father to Bernard Hine, the current HINE honorary chairman) worked alongside his father in the company during the 1930’s. Robert and his brother François led HINE to start shipping cognacs in bottles. Such commercial decisions were made in the inner family circle, and the young Bernard remembers his grandfather’s opposition to this progressive idea. But Robert and François decided to go ahead and bottle HINE’s young cognacs: after all, the trend had been set by Thomas back in 1821 when he shipped glass flasks of cognac to England, long before bottling had become the norm.
The Royal Warrant
In 1962, HINE was appointed official cognac supplier to HRH Queen Elizabeth II of England. The Royal Warrant is granted for five years and every five years HINE has been honored to have the Warrant renewed. As a Royal Warrant holder, HINE may display the royal arms and the legend “by appointment” on products and advertising.
The shared attributes of Hine Cognacs? Delicacy, vibrance and finesse. The House of Hine cherishes a solid belief: that a great cognac is above all a great white wine. Cognac embodies a perpetual quest for balance between consistency and virtuosity. The blending of vintages and crus is fundamental, as it guarantees a particular style and distinct mode of expression. The House of Hine draws its identity from the heart of two Premier Crus (in a region where Crus number just six): the Grande Champagne and the Petite Champagne. In the village of Bonneuil, 115 hectares of vineyards unfurl their rows of Ugni Blanc vines across rolling valleys – a landscape that is characteristic to Grande Champagne. Limestone rocks peep out at the foot of the vines like a promise of future vivacity.
H By HineSan Francisco World Spirits Competition 2020
Hine HomageUltimate Spirits Challenge 2019