Champagne has long been a symbol of the holiday. This refined drink accompanies secular receptions and family celebrations. Among the variety of champagne stands one, with a terrific taste and an intriguing name – Veuve Clicquot (Widow Clicquot). The popularity of this house is constantly growing. So, Madame Clicquot has always managed to remain a young widow.
And the glorious house was founded in 1772 by Mr. Clicquot. At first it was just part of the family business. After a while his son François started working with his father, he married Mademoiselle Barbet-Nicole Ponsardin. Barbe-Nicole miraculously escaped the revolutionary executions. The marriage of the young was secretly performed in the wine cellar of the Ponsardin family house in June 1798. The newlyweds were married on the Catholic rite, which was then banned.
Melancholic François decided to deal not with textiles, like his father, but focus on the wine business. In this lesson, an energetic and practical wife became an excellent assistant to him. But the marriage did not last long – just five years later, at the age of 27, the young Clicquot died. So a young widow appeared. Francois Clicquot died either from typhus, or from prolonged depression. Madame Clicquot stood at the crossroads. She could, as was customary at the time, give family management to an outside manager, and herself to spend all incoming funds for outfits, travel and entertainment.
But to the credit of the woman it is worth noting that she decided to continue the beginnings of her deceased husband. Despite the censure of society, the widow decided to lead the House of Clicquot himself. For a single woman with a small child in her arms, this was a real challenge. I must say that for this Madame had all the necessary – she was smart, had ambitions, was a good seller. I was helped by a father-in-law who believed in a daughter-in-law and invested money in her business. At the source of the future empire was about four million dollars at the modern rate.
To begin with, the widow Clicquot decided to improve the quality of the existing champagne. At that time, these wines were rather cloudy because of the presence of yeast in them. Then Barbee-Nicole developed a special technology that allowed them to get rid of them, which gave a lighter and more pleasant outside drink. This technology is still in use today – bottles are stored with a neck down, which allows you to accumulate a yeast sediment below. Then the champagne is cooled so that the yeast freezes. And after the opening of the bottle, the ice bucket with yeast under pressure flies. 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 branded champagne in the region. And the next, 1811 brought an exceptional harvest. Many associated it with the appearance of a comet in the sky. And the widow Clicquot created with this a wonderful vintage champagne.
The widow expanded her business – she gradually bought up all the best vineyards in the district. Barbe-Nicole made all this profit on this. But even today the company has the best vineyards in Champagne, which already at the first stage of production of champagne, harvesting berries, gives an advantage over competitors.
ма During the Napoleonic wars, Madame Clicquot managed to arrange the delivery of her champagne to other countries. Europe quickly appreciated the taste of the new brand. Champagne from the widow of Clicquot took root under the royal and imperial houses. Prussian ruler Friedrich Wilhelm IV for his devotion to the house of Clicquot-Ponsarden, his subjects even nicknamed “The King of Clicquot.” Barbee-Nicole was not shy to smuggle, she supplied her product to all warring parties.
Russia could not resist the French product. The widow Clicquot managed to conquer it, which Napoleon never did. It must be said that champagne got to the emperor Alexander I not by accident. In 1814, Monsieur Bonet lived in St. Petersburg, the Personal Envoy of House Clicquot.In the first year of his stay in the Russian capital he wrote to his superiors that the queen was pregnant. According to the Frenchman, the appearance of the heir to the throne will significantly increase the consumption of champagne. Bonet advised to prepare for this, in secret from competitors. And they did not doze, take at least the famous Washes.
But the House of Clicquot very carefully approached the conquest of Russian customers, not only guaranteeing the high quality of the product, but also studying the habits and customs of the Russian nobility. Boné told that Russians with children’s spontaneity are enjoying a foaming drink, a shot of a cork and wine-filled dresses. To create champagne for Russia, this was taken into consideration. As a result, the drink was flooded with a river. The operation to introduce the French brand to Russia was successful.
Writer Prosper Merimee wrote about this: “Madame Clicquot has given Russia drink. Here her wine is called Klykovskoe and no one else simply does not want to know. ” From a woman no one expected such a quickness, behind even a competitor such as Moyet remained. But he was considered a drink for aristocrats. Even though France was subject to continental blockade, in Russia in 1814 there were 10,550 bottles.
Over time, the brand owner 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. Her friend, and then the assistant was a young German Edward Verle. Barbee-Nicole tried to expand her business, but her textile and banking direction nearly led to the collapse of the whole company. Bad harvest and did put the House on the verge of ruin.
In 1866 Barbe-Nicole died at the age of 89 years. After herself, she left a glorious House, named in her honor and bearing a tradition of high quality. The widow also overtook her time, because in those years the average life expectancy of a woman was 45 years. In recent years, Barbee-Nicole was engaged in charity and the restoration of monuments. In her house there were always guests – many wanted just to look at the tiny old woman who owned one of the largest capitals in the world. At today’s prices, the widow had about $ 10 billion.
Already after the death of the widow, in 1877 a famous yellow bottle label was created, which was quite unusual for that time. This allowed champagne to stand out from the competition. And in 1909 on the outskirts of Reims in the chalky cellars of the former quarry new warehouses were created. In 1972, the brand established the Business Women Award, especially for those ladies who showed themselves best in business.
In the same year, in honor of the bicentennial anniversary of the brand, the prestigious branded champagne La Grande Dame was launched. In 1987, the brand “Widow Clicquot” became part of the huge concern LVMH. In 2004, in Japan in the flowering season of cherry rose pink champagne was launched. It turned out to be so successful that the rest of the world received a batch of this noble drink only in a couple of years. The motto of the brand is confirmed by the history itself: “There is only one quality. The Highest “.