During WWII, Marie-Louise Lanson de Nonancourt ran the business while two of her sons, Maurice and Bernard, joined the French Resistance. In 1945, Bernard de Nonancourt began an exacting apprenticeship, learning every aspect of winemaking from vine to cellar, before his appointment in October 1948 as Chairman and Chief Executive. At that point, the House was employing around 20 people and shipping 80,000 bottles a year. Fired by a passion for champagne, a respect for traditional values and, most importantly, for people, Bernard de Nonancourt inspired Laurent-Perrier with his independent spirit and creative audacity. He established privileged working relationships with the grape growers and cleverly combined innovation and tradition. He created the signature Laurent-Perrier style of freshness, lightness and elegance and developed a unique range of champagnes which are today exported to more than 160 countries worldwide.