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Madame Clicquot-Ponsardin

December 7, 2012 by  

Madame Clicquot-Ponsardin, Madame Clicquot, née Ponsardin, Widow Clicquot or Veuve Clicquot (16 December 1777 – 29 July 1866), known as the “Grand Dame of Champagne”, was a French businesswoman who took on her husband’s wine business when widowed at 27. Under her ownership, and her skill with wine, the company developed early champagne using a novel technique. The brand and company of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin still bears her name.

Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, born 16 December 1777 in Reims, was the daughter of a wealthy father, Ponce Jean Nicolas Philippe Ponsardin (from 1813, Baron Ponsardin), a textile manufacturer and politician. Her mother was Jeanne Josephe Marie-Clémentine Letertre Huart.

She married François Clicquot at the age of 21. Her husband died six years later. Her husband’s death may have been suicide, but it was attributed to typhoid. In her own right, Madame was wealthy by virtue of her very well connected family. Napoleon and Josephine had both stayed at her father’s hotel. Her father was made mayor of Rheims by Napoleon’s decree.

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