Veuve Clicquot is a well-known name among Champagne lovers. But do you know the story of the woman behind this brand ?
The first woman to run a champagne house
Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, nicknamed the « Grande Dame de Champagne« , was a businesswoman and the first woman to run a champagne house. Born on December 16, 1777 in Reims. She was 27 when her husband, François Clicquot, died. He leaves him a champagne house created 33 years earlier in 1772 and producing 100,000 bottles annually. Nicknamed « the Veuve Clicquot » or « the Great Lady of Champagne », endowed with an unusual strength of character, she knew how to run her business and when she died on July 29, 1866, the house was selling 750,000 bottles throughout the world. She had the intelligence to acquire vines among the best crus, in Bouzy, Verzy and Verzenay in the Montagne de Reims, thus constituting the exceptional heritage of the house of 286 hectares. She also designed the famous yellow label which, all over the world, makes it possible to recognize a bottle of Clicquot at a glance.
A feminist of her time
The Veuve Clicquot upset the codes of her social class and of society. She surrounds herself with the most talented and visionary men in the wine and spirits trade. She works to develop strong ties with foreign countries, such as Russia, where she manages to send boxes to the Tsar while wars are raging throughout Europe. The widow is interested in science and cultivates her curiosity in the field of winemaking to the point of providing many answers to the problems of winegrowers.
She has marked the history of wine
Veuve Clicquot, aware of the difficulty of offering Champagnes of unchanging quality to its customers, is looking into the manufacturing technique. The findings are quite murky. She notices that the environment in which the bottles age is not necessarily adequate. Very quickly, in 1816, it innovated by developing the system of riddling tables which made it possible to clarify the wine. This support is still used today, to facilitate the vinification of Champagne. Veuve Clicquot, courageous, curious and visionary, has contributed to many advances in the field of viticulture and in the general approach to women. She is a driving force and a model for many women entrepreneurs in the vineyard and has marked the history of wine in depth.