Antoine Meilland survived service in World War I only to see his first post-war rose crop wiped out by a beetle infestation. He recovered and eventually made his nursery the dominant force in the French rose growing business. In 1932, he signed a contract with the Conard-Pyle Co. (Star Roses) nursery in West Grove, Pennsylvania to market Meilland-bred roses in America. The relationship continues to this day. Antoine Meilland's rose "Golden State", so named to commemorate his visit to California, won the 1937 Gold Medal at both the Concours de roses de Bagatelle, the City of Paris International competition for new roses, and at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon, at that time symbolic of the best new rose in France and the United States.
Antoine's son, Francis Meilland (1912-1958), was another visionary who established a reputation for his breeding and built the business into a worldwide operation with a network of agents who simultaneously introduced his varieties. For what he called a "Universal Rose Selection", he prepared beautiful colored catalogs designed so that each agent could insert their own text. Having arranged the smuggling of a seedling out of France just prior to the German occupation of World War II], in 1945 Francis Meilland introduced one of the most famous of all roses, Peace (see story from the book For Love of a Rose by Antonia Ridge).
Currently, the business is headed by Alain Meilland, and today it has nursery production covering 600 hectares (1500 acres) in France, Morocco, Spain, the Netherlands, and in the U.S. State of California selling more than 12 million rosebushes annually. The McCartney Rose, named for Paul McCartney has won many international awards. Alain Meilland wrote about his family in a 1969 book published in Paris by Editions Solar as La Vie en Roses and rereleased in English in 1984 as Meilland: A Life in Roses. More recently, their history was recounted in a 1998 book titled La grande famille des roses by Anne-Sophie Rondeau.
Meilland holds more than 1,000 patents worldwide and owns 600 trademarks. They name a few of their roses in honor of a notable person or celebrity, both historical and present day.