This large and widespread family held a leading position in the Bordeaux wine trade
for a century and a half. The German Hermann Cruse, born in Schleswig-Holstein in 1790, founded a branch in Bordeaux
in 1819. He became rich in 1848 when he bought over 120,000 hectolitres of wine (13,650 tonneaux á 900 l) from 13 Châteaux-Cru sites in the Médoc for the German market. Subsequently, the family acquired or inherited several (including Cru Classé) vineyards. For example, in 1850 these were Château Laujac (Bas-Médoc), in 1865 Château Pontet-Canet
(Pauillac, sold again in 1975) and Château Giscours
(Labarde-Margaux) and in 1903 Château Rauzan-Ségla
(Margaux, sold again in 1956). A real empire developed, the individual parts were managed by different family members. In 1974 there was a sensational trial with heavy fines because of unclean methods (cheap table wine was bought and resold as AC Bordeaux, with a total of five companies involved). The company did not recover from this blow and was merged into a group in 1979. The Château d'Issan
in Margaux, which was bought in 1945, remained in family ownership and is run by Lionel Cruse.