Once our professor at the sommelier school asked:
– Do you know who and how created champagne, the taste of which we know today? Why exactly is it a symbol of luxury and chic? Not monks, not traders, but women did that. Why should this surprise you? Because another 100 years ago ladies did not have such rights and opportunities as today. All of them were French women. And they all were widows!
There was a whisper in the class, few knew the concept of “champagne widows”
The first one is the widow Clicquot (Veuve Clicquot), thanks to whom the cloudy drink became transparent.
The problem for winemakers of the time was that after the champagne had passed through repeated fermentation, cloudy yeast lees remained in the bottle. It could not be removed. They had to either drink from colored wine glasses, or pour out half of the bottle content, losing gas at the same time, or not pay attention. Madame Clicquot came up with storing bottles in a non-horizontal position, on a special shelf, pupitre, which was gradually brought to an almost vertical position and the lees settled in the bottleneck. Only then it was frozen by special technology, the bottle was opened, dirty ice was extracted, the pure champagne was added, and the bottle was closed. Thus, the drink became transparent and gas did not come out.
The second, widow Pommery (Veuve Pommery), made the taste of champagne “dry.”
Previously, the wine was predominantly sweet. Most people didn’t know that the taste could be different, so winemakers followed centuries-old traditions. Madame Pommery House mainly supplied its products to England and received from the British the request to reduce the amount of sugar in the drink. At first, the widow Pommery didn’t want to change anything in taste, but then she agreed, having warned that would call this “brutale”, which means bad, and will write it on the label. As a result, the abbreviated word “brut” has caught on, and many fell in love with the taste.
The third, widow Bollinger (Veuve Bollinger), was the genius of marketing and dealing with people, she raised champagne to a new level of prestige. Thanks to her unshakable confidence in the exclusivity of her own product and supernatural communication skills the drink from the house of Bollinger got into England upper class and even became the official champagne of the British Royal Family. And a few decades later it also became the official drink of James Bond. Madame Bollinger understood the power of marketing even before it became fashionable.
Of course, this is not everything that these women managed to do in their lifetime. The more you read about them, the more you admire the innovative approach and strength of character.