This house was established in 1860 by Edmond de Ayala, the son of a Colombian diplomat. The family had roots in Spain, as Edmond de Ayala’s great-grandfather, Don Antonio de Ayala y Vergara, was named Chancellor of New Grenada in 1750 by King Ferdinand VI, setting sail for what was to later become Colombia. Edmond de Ayala’s father, Don Rafael de Ayala y Lozano, was a senior officer in the Colombian army and later the General Consul of Colombia in Paris.
The house was completely destroyed in the Champagne riots of 1911, yet remarkably, it was rebuilt and ready to restart production by 1913. In 1922 it was sold to the Lefebvre family, but the recession beginning in 1929 proved to be catastrophic, and the house was sold in 1934 to the British bank Guinness. It was put up for auction in 1937 and purchased by René Chayoux, the son of an Epernay wine merchant. Chayoux was actively involved in various business affairs in the region, and eventually became co-president of the CIVC from 1944 to 1955. He enlisted Jean-Michel Ducellier, director of the CIVC and a former finance director of Charles Heidsieck, to help him run the house, and upon Chayoux’s death in 1969, Ducellier assumed responsibility for the house until his retirement in 1995.
Ayala was sold again in 2000 to the Frey group, and Thierry Budin, a former president of Perrier-Jouët, took over the helm. Five years later, however, Ayala was purchased by the Bollinger Group. Bollinger bought the property and the stocks of wine, but Frey retained the vineyards, forcing the house to rely on purchased grapes. Hervé Augustin was appointed president and general manager of the house, while Nicolas Klym, who had been making wines for the house since 1979, was retained as chef de cave. Under Augustin, the house reinvented its style, focusing heavily on non-dosé champagnes, as well as increasing its use of chardonnay.
Since 2012, the direction of the house has been in the hands of Hadrien Mouflard, and Caroline Latrive (pictured) has taken over as chef de cave, having previously worked alongside Klym since 2006. In addition, Ayala now owns 20 hectares of vines in the Côte des Blancs (Chouilly, Oger) and Vallée de la Marne (Passy-Grigny, Champvoisy), and the house has completed new winery facilities on its property in Aÿ as of 2013. Peter Liem