Sex & Champagne
Updated: Jul 14
The FEMALE sex that is.
Photographed by the talented Jamie Beck
"La Grande Dame" was launched in 1972 in honor of Madame Clicquot
I just started reading reading “The Widow Clicquot” by Tilar J. Mazzeo — a biography about the badass businesswoman, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, who is often attributed to as the woman who created the Champagne industry.
So far, Madam Clicquot seems like one of the most ballsy, bold and audacious women I have ever come to know, and she was centuries ahead of her time as far as societal success and gender norms go. She was often referred to as "the Grande Dame of Champagne" in her lifetime, and took over the family business when her husband died in 1805, and she became a widow (veuve) at 27 years old, during a time when women had zero place in the world of business.
It’s “the story of a Champagne empire and the woman who ruled it,” and it’s been on my list for a while.
Reading it now has been exceptionally well-timed, as it’s set during a time when “the entire social structure of France was crumbling and Europe was in a collective panic” and is all about how a woman decided to fearlessly rise above it all, leverage her talents, drive and hustle to do big things and let nothing get in her way despite her surroundings and circumstances.
Shall we take a page from her book, ladies?
One of my now favorite lines in the book reads:
"No business in the world has been as much influenced by the female sex as that of Champagne."
Lucky us! Thanks to women like Barbe-Nicole, we now associate all things Champagne with celebration and luxury. What's interesting about the women who laid the early groundwork for such a timeless and exceptional beverage, is that some of these magnificent world-changing women were widows (or "veuves", and thus thrown into the their profound positions by fate) and were also from Champagne. You likely know their mark on the wine world as we have them to thank for the Champagne houses whose names and brands we know well: Lily Bollinger (Champagne Bollinger), Marie-Louise Lanson de Nonancourt (Laurent Perrier) and Madame Clicquot (Veuve Clicquot). For a quick and informative read on these fab femmes, check out The Grand Dames of Champagne.
Anyway, I’m falling more in love with Champagne with every page — as if I needed another reason *wink* — and I’m thrilled to have another strong role model in my life. I can thank my fabulous sister for the book rec (thanks sissy). A must read.
Here’s to Fancy Champagne Fridays! Can’t wait to pop the bottle I have on deck for tonight — and yes, it’s already on ice. Is yours?