PARIS, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Bernard de Nonancourt, who found half a million bottles of stolen French wine in German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's cellars, has died at age 90.
De Nonancourt, president of the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Group, died Friday evening, Radio France Internationale reported.
At the end of World War II in 1945, de Nonancourt, then a sergeant, blew open the steel door of Hitler's wine cellar near his Eagle's Nest in Bavaria. He and his men found hundreds of cases of 1928 Salon champagne he had seen being stolen by the Germans when they occupied France in 1940.
De Nonancourt ran Laurent-Perrier for more than 50 years. His mother, Marie-Louise Lanson de Nonancourt, bought a small champagne company in 1938. Bernard's older brother, Maurice, was intended to succeed her, but he died in a concentration camp during the war.
De Nonancourt's daughters, Alexandra and Stephanie, will take over the business.