From a family of bankers and textile merchants, Philippe Clicquot owns a number of vineyards and decides to establish a wine business under the family name, pledging to have his wares ‘cross all borders’. The business’s very first shipment leaves for Venice. His son François joins the business in 1798.
His widow, Barbe Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, decides to take the family business in hand at the age of 27, and thus becomes one of the first business women of modern times. That year, 110,000 bottles are shipped, 25,000 of which are intended for Russia.
Madame Clicquot proves her innovative prowess by creating the first recorded vintage champagne in the region.
This year brought an exceptional harvest, whose quality was attributed to a comet that flew over the area, and enabled the production of a remarkable wine: the Comet Vintage.
As she gained in boldness and daring, Madame Clicquot overcame the continental embargo that raged in Europe and managed to ship her wine to Saint Petersburg. Her champagne received a triumphant welcome in Russia, and was praised by Pushkin, Chekhov and Gogol.
Madame Clicquot invents the first riddling table, which makes it possible to ensure a crystal-clear wine. This process continues to be used today. From then on, the house goes from strength to strength. Madame Clicquot becomes known to her peers as “La Grande Dame” of Champagne.
The house continues to dress its bottles in a yellow label, an unusual colour for the time. The ‘V.Clicquot P. Werlé’ Yellow label trademark is registered on 12 February 1877. Customers demand this distinctive, original label, which was to become one of the main distinguishing features of bottles produced by the House.
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin implements new techniques and improves its wines yet again with the important oenological discoveries of the times. It extends its industrial heritage, setting up home on the outskirts of Reims in 482 crayères (chalk cellars), former quarries, where the visitors’ centre and production site are now located.
As the House is launching its prestigious cuvee la Grande Dame, it also creates the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award, a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of Madame Clicquot. This award champions the success of women who have made their mark in the business world.
To mark its bicentenary, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin launches the first La Grande Dame its prestigious vintage champagne.
LVMH (Moët-Hennessy - Louis Vuitton) is founded the following year.
Launched in Japan during the cherry blossom season, Veuve Clicquot Rosé, the house’s non-vintage Rosé, is so successful that the rest of the world has to wait until 2006 before the house can supply the remainder of the cuvee.
In July 2010, some truly unique bottles of champagne were discovered in a shipwreck off Finland’ Aland Islands, at the mouth of the Baltic. Despite having spent almost two centuries at the bottom of the sea, their contents are extremely well preserved. A salvage operation brought 145 bottles, including 47 Veuve Clicquot champagne bottles, to the surface. One of these champagnes, amongst the oldest in the world, was sold. This wonderful discovery for the Veuve Clicquot House is testament to the impeccable quality of our wines since the very origins of the House.
In 2011, after several years of renovations, the hotel is turning a new page in its history, and revealing all its poetry and romantic beauty with a resolutely modern attitude. The Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin House entrusted Bruno Moinard with the restoration of the building, as he is known for his very personal approach to rewriting the history of a place with infinite care and attention.
From remarkable years to pivotal dates, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin continues to write its own history each day.