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  • Writer's pictureWines & Vines

Behind the Caves of Maison Veuve Clicquot - Ponsardin

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

Champagne holds a legendary status in the world of wine--not any sparkling wine, or “bubbly” as it is often referred to, is privileged to be called “Champagne”. Sparkling wine can be produced in five different ways: Traditional, Tank, Transfer, Asti, and Carbonation methods. It is produced in many parts of the world with varying qualities, price tags and tasting profiles, but it can only be called “Champagne” if it is produced in the Champagne region of France. Champagne is a protected appellation that has some of the most restrictive laws and regulations in the world of wine. Reims and Epernay are the major production centers within the region. Reims is where Maison Veuve-Clicquot-Ponsardin, one of the most well-known and historic champagne houses, is located.

Maison Veuve Clicquot was founded in 1772 – besides its captivating charm, this place holds a significant piece of history; it is here where the world’s first international businesswoman emerged to shape the future of champagne and run one of the largest champagne houses in the world. It is here where some of the most significant innovations in champagne were developed, credited to the remarkable brain of Madame Clicquot ( Barbe Ponsardin), and which are still practiced today.

Spending a day at this monumental champagne house had a significant affinity to the woman behind the name, the woman who conquered a man’s world during a time where business practice was strictly dominated by males, a time when women were excluded on many levels.

I have always been a fan of Veuve-Clicquot champagne--it is one of my all-time favorites. To my palate, this champagne has powerful combinations of complexity, intensity, elegance and finesse; to my mind, it is a reminder of a historic evolutionary era, but to my soul, it is a testament of feminine power, passion, and perseverance.

Veuve Clicquot - La Grande Dame - The Woman Behind the Name…

Born as Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin on December 16, 1777 in the heart of Champagne to lead an extraordinary life and set solid business foundations for what would become one of the largest and most successful champagne houses. Barbe-Nicole was a determined, intelligent and audacious woman who was able to take control of her own destiny and dare to lead during a time when leadership roles were limited to men. She was a visionary, who despite never having training in the wine business, was able to think ahead of her time and envision trends of international market demands. She was an innovative marketer, with a brilliant business mind and a daring lion heart.

The word “veuve” is French for “ widow” and “Clicquot” is the family name that Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin took after marrying her husband François Clicquot at the age of 21. Six years later, her husband died, and thus Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin became the “Veuve Clicquot”.

"The world is in perpetual motion, and we must invent the things of tomorrow. One must go before others, be determined and exacting, and let your intelligence direct your life. Act with audacity." Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin

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