Throughout the history of France, it was not only people who left their homes to explore the world and extend their country’s renown to the furthest corners of the earth. The great wines of France also played the role of ambassadors to perfection. At the very same time when the French explorers referred to in this work were starting out on their perilous expeditions, Veuve Clicquot’s champagnes were also getting ready to conquer the world. Philippe Clicquot founded the House of Veuve Clicquot in 1772. This young, ambitious man, aged 29, was determined to develop trade in champagne wines, with the firm intention of “crossing frontiers”. As early as 1780, a first carrier of bottles arrived in Moscow, and many expeditions were also made to the United States. In 1798, Philippe Clicquot became associated with his son, François, who was married to Nicole-Barbe Ponsardin. In 1805, widowed at the age of 27, it was she who took up the reins of the business and made it the success we know.
After several years of research and reflection, Veuve Clicquot decided to purchase vineyards in Australia and New Zealand in regions where, thanks to the geological and climatic conditions, vines have been planted which merit the House’s attention. The New Zealand vineyard “Cloudy Bay Vineyards”, in Marlboroughcounty, gets its name from the bay located at the western point of the Wairau Valley, so called by Captain Cook during his journey to New Zealand in 1770. This part of New Zealand is also where many of the French expeditions called and where place names given by one of France’s own most celebrated explorers, Dumont d’Urville, have endured. And so the wind of adventure blows over the land….
The House of Veuve Clicquot is over 200 years old and has built its reputation on wines produced on a few hectares in a small area in France, which does not have its equivalent anywhere else. These wines have charmed the entire world. And now, two centuries later, the House is extending its sense of adventure to the Antipodes. Isn’t this the best proof that the flame of conquest at Veuve Clicquot still burns with the same fervour? Once again, “nothing is achieved without passion”.
Published in 2000.
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