The Widow Clicquot

The Widow Clicquot

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Champagne has long been a symbol of the holiday. Among the variety of champagne, one stands out with an amazing taste and an intriguing name - Veuve Clicquot (Veuve Clicquot). So Madame Clicquot managed to remain a young widow forever.

A glorious house was founded in 1772 by Mr. Clicquot. At first it was just part of the family business. After some time, his son François began to work with his father, he married Mademoiselle Barbet-Nicole Ponsardin. Barbey-Nicole narrowly escaped revolutionary executions. The marriage of the young was committed secretly in the wine cellar of the Ponsardins family house in June 1798. The newlyweds were married according to the Catholic ceremony, which was then prohibited.

Melancholic Francois decided not to deal with textiles, like his father, but to focus on the wine business. In this lesson, his energetic and practical wife became an excellent assistant. But the marriage did not last long - just five years later, at the age of 27, young Clicquot died. And so the young widow appeared. François Clicquot died either from typhoid or from prolonged depression. Madame Clicquot stood at a crossroads. She could, as was customary at that time, give the management of the family business to an outside manager, and herself spend all the funds received on outfits, travel and entertainment.

But to the woman's credit, it is worth noting that she decided to continue the endeavors of her late husband. Despite the censure of society, the widow decided to independently lead the House of Clicquot. For a single woman with a small child in her arms, this was a real challenge. I must say that for this Madame had everything necessary - she was smart, had ambitions, was a good seller. The father-in-law helped, who believed in his daughter-in-law and invested money in her business. The origins of the future empire turned out to be about four million dollars at the current rate.

To begin with, the widow Clicquot decided to improve the quality of the existing champagne. At the time, these wines were rather cloudy due to the presence of yeast in them. Then Barbet-Nicole developed a special technology that made it possible to get rid of them, which gave a lighter and more pleasant-looking drink. This technology is still used today - bottles are stored with their neck down, which allows yeast sediment to accumulate at the bottom. The champagne is then chilled so that the yeast is frozen. And after opening the bottle, the ice with yeast flies out under pressure. This secret became known to competitors only in the 1830s, when the position of the empire was no longer shaken.

In 1810, Madame Clicquot proved her innovative approach - she created the first registered vintage champagne in the region. And the next year, 1811, brought an exceptional harvest. Many associated it with the appearance of a comet in the sky. And the widow Clicquot has created a wonderful vintage champagne.

The widow expanded her business - she gradually bought up all the best vineyards in the area. Barbet-Nicole used all her profits to do just that. But even today the company has the best vineyards in Champagne, which already at the first stage of champagne production, berry picking, gives an advantage over competitors.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Madame Clicquot managed to arrange the supply of her champagne to other countries. Europe quickly appreciated the taste of the new brand. Champagne from the Widow Clicquot took root in the royal and imperial houses. The Prussian ruler Frederick William IV, for his loyalty to the house of Clicquot-Ponsardin, was even nicknamed "King Clicquot" by his subjects. Barbey-Nicole did not hesitate to trade in smuggling, she supplied her product to all the warring parties.

Russia could not resist the French product either. The widow Clicquot managed to conquer her, which Napoleon never did. I must say that the champagne came to Emperor Alexander I not by accident. In 1814, Monsieur Bonet, the personal envoy of the House of Clicquot, lived in St. Petersburg. In the very first year of his stay in the capital of Russia, he wrote to his superiors that the queen was pregnant. According to the Frenchman, the birth of the heir to the throne will significantly increase the consumption of champagne. Bone advised to prepare for this, secretly from competitors. And they did not doze, take at least the famous Moet.

But the House of Clicquot very carefully approached the conquest of Russian clients, not only guaranteeing the high quality of the product, but also studying the habits and customs of the Russian nobility. Bone said that the Russians, with childlike spontaneity, rejoice at the foaming drink, the shot of the cork and the dresses drenched in wine. This was taken into account to create champagne for Russia. As a result, the drink flowed like a river here. The operation to introduce the French brand to Russia was successful.

The writer Prosper Mérimée wrote about it this way: “Madame Clicquot gave Russia a drink. Here her wine is called Klikovskoe and they simply don’t want to know anything else ”. No one expected such agility from a woman; even such a competitor as Moet was left behind. But he was considered a drink for aristocrats. Even though France was subject to a continental blockade, 10,550 bottles ended up in Russia in 1814.

Over time, the owner of the brand began to think about what would happen to her company next. After all, she realized that her daughter and son-in-law do not have practical skills, but only spend money. The widow began to look for business partners. A young German Eduard Werle became her friend, and then her assistant. Barbet-Nicolle tried to expand her business, but her textile and banking business nearly led to the collapse of the entire company. A bad harvest put the House on the brink of ruin.

In 1866, Barbet-Nicole died at the age of 89. After herself, she left a glorious House, named after her and carrying a tradition of high quality. The widow was ahead of her time in this too, because in those years the average life expectancy of a woman was 45 years. In her last years, Barbet-Nicole was involved in charity work and restoration of monuments. There were always guests in her house - many just wanted to look at the miniature old woman who owned one of the largest capital in the world. At today's prices, the widow had about $ 10 billion.

After the death of the widow, in 1877, the famous yellow label for the bottle was created, which was quite unusual for that time. This allowed the champagne to stand out from the competition. And in 1909, on the outskirts of Reims, new warehouses were created in the chalk cellars of the former quarry. In 1972, the brand established the Business Women Award, especially for those ladies who have done their best in business.

In the same year, in honor of the bicentennial anniversary of the brand, the prestigious vintage champagne "La Grande Dame" was launched. In 1987, the Veuve Clicquot brand became part of the huge LVMH concern. In 2004, rose champagne was launched in Japan during cherry blossom season. It was so successful that the rest of the world received a batch of this noble drink only after a couple of years. The brand's motto is confirmed by the story itself: “There is only one quality. The highest ".

Watch the video: Where Does Champagne Come From? A Brief History of Champagne (June 2022).