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Handwritten letter from Veuve Clicquot (1861)

Handwritten letter from Veuve Clicquot (1861)

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In 1861, Veuve Clicquot became one of the first female entrepreneurs and started to promote the brand in Italy.

Handwritten letter from the company founded by Veuve Clicquot, born Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, to Clossman & Co, Bordeaux. One page. In French. 19.1 cm x 22.9 cm. Reims, France, March 6, 1861. Good condition. Single piece.

Gentlemen, in accordance with your wishes expressed in your esteemed letter of the 11th of January (...), I have just sent to Claude Blanc & CO, in Marseilles, a box containing 60 bottles of Champagne white wine, a great sparkling wine of the first quality . Please find attached the invoice, totaling 270 French francs (...). I have chosen for this small delivery a very delicate wine that will meet the expectations of your friends in Italy.

A French businesswoman whose innovative techniques revolutionized the French champagne industry, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin (1777 - 1866) was married in Reims to winemaker François Clicquot, who died six years later. Single mother and widow, or "veuve" in French, she took over the management of her business, despite the customs of the time and the Napoleonic Code, which emphasized the role of women in the home. She was one of the first French businesswomen and the first woman to manage a prestigious Champagne brand.

Under his leadership, the company perfected the champenoise method, using a technique called remuage or riddling, which allowed sediment to be removed from champagne on a commercial scale. It was also Veuve Clicquot's audacity that made the brand a success: it actively promoted the brand in the royal courts of Europe, bypassing Napoleon's Continental blockade. For example, he decided to ship champagne to Russia, where, after tasting it in 1811, Tsar Alexander refused to drink any other wine, buying 10,000 high-proof bottles of 1811 cuvée Veuve Clicquot, which sold for the equivalent of $100 per bottle.

Marseille, one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean, was central to the distribution of Champagne Clicquot. Clossman was an esteemed producer of wines in Bordeaux since 1770, a trading partner of the Champagne brands.

This unique letter is an exceptional example of the marketing efforts of the Veuve Clicquot company, which made the company one of the most respected champagne houses in the year of his death in 1866. Founded in 1772, the Veuve Clicquot brand was purchased in 1986 by Louis Vuitton.

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