The French ruler Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was born in Ajaccio on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. He crowned himself emperor in 1804 in what he felt was the succession of Charlemagne (742-814). Apart from his public activities, a great deal is known about his private life, as there is a multi-volume biography that describes every day of his life in at least a few lines from the age of 20.
From his personal inclinations it is well known through numerous anecdotes that he loved tobacco, women and wine or champagne. At least three wines are said to have been his favourite. The red wine (made from Pinot Noir) from the famous Burgundian appellation Gevrey-Chambertin on the Côte de Nuits is most often mentioned, but he often diluted it with water. The second is the precursor of the white Pouilly fumé from the upper Loire. And the third is the precursor of the red Rossese di Dolceacqua from the Italian region of Liguria on the French border. He also had the best wines mostly mixed with water.
There is also a special relationship to Cognac. In 1811, Napoleon visited the wine merchant Emmanuel Courvoisier in his liquor store in Paris, from which the famous Cognac House emerged in 1835. This company later introduced the cognac trademark "Napoleon" with the silhouette of the emperor on the bottle label in deliberate reference to this highest visit. Of course Napoleon also liked to drink the national drink champagne. Throughout his life he was a close friend of Jean-Rémy Moët (1758-1841), the founding grandson of the famous champagne house Moët et Chandon. During many of his campaigns, Napoleon took the opportunity to visit the Moët winery in Epernay to buy a few cases of champagne. Incidentally, when the city of Reims was liberated from the Prussians and Cossacks in 1814, he stayed at the house of the brother of the legendary Madame Veuve Clicquot.
Napoelon remarked about the enjoyment of champagne: "After victory you deserve it, after defeat you need it. It is said that the emperor also invented the Sabrieren (champagne heads with sabres) and cultivated this custom with his officers after winning battles. His first wife Josephine loved the wine from the famous vineyard Coulée-de-Serrant near Savennières on the Loire. However, Napoleon demonstrably enjoyed a wine until his death and had it regularly delivered in large quantities to his exile on the island of St. Helena. It was the famous sweet wine Constantia from South Africa. The legendary vintage of 1811 was called "Napoleon wine" because the emperor had reached the height of his fame at that time.
During the French revolutionary wars (1792-1815), Germany had experienced extensive secularisation of goods. Confiscation or takeover of property by the state had already taken place earlier, but the process under Napoleon was the most comprehensive one that had taken place until then. Almost all ecclesiastical estates were dissolved and around 95,000 km2 of land with more than three million people changed hands. The French eastern border was shifted as far as the Rhine, depriving many German princes of their possessions on the left bank of the Rhine. This affected the capitals and a large part of the dominion of the three ecclesiastical electorates of Kurköln, Kurmainz and Kurtrier as well as the Kurpfalz, which now became part of France. Four of the eight electoral dignities had thus ceased to exist.
In the so-called Reichsdeputations-Hauptschluss (Main Resolution of the Imperial Deputation) of 1803, it was determined that the expropriated secular princes should be compensated by secularized church as well as by smaller secular rulers. Furthermore, the ecclesiastical principalities were dissolved with the exception of Mainz, whose remaining territory on the right bank of the Rhine was transferred to Regensburg. This also had a great impact on viticulture, as numerous vineyards and wineries formerly owned by the church were sold and thus became secular property. Prominent examples of this include the Josephshöfer, Paulinshof, Schlossgut Istein and Schloss Johannisberg vineyards.