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Veuve Clicquot is a French Champagne house based in Reims, specializing in premium products. It was founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot and is one of the largest champagne houses in the world. Madame Clicquot is credited with major breakthroughs, creating the first known vintage champagne in 1810, and inventing the riddling table process to clarify champagne in 1816. In 1818, she invented the first known blended rosé champagne by blending still red and white champagne wines. This process is still used today by the majority of champagne producers.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Madame Clicquot made strides in establishing her wine in royal courts throughout Europe, notably that of Imperial Russia. She played an important role in establishing champagne as a favored drink of high society and nobility throughout Europe.
The house has borne its distinctive yellow label since the late 19th century.
The company was purchased in 1986 by Louis Vuitton (now part of the LVMH group formed in 1987) and continues to expand worldwide.
Philippe Clicquot was a textile merchant, a banker and an owner of vineyards in the Champagne country. In 1772, he established a wine business He quickly decided to bring his champagne wines to foreign palates and soon expanded his clientele. His annual shipments varied between 4,000 bottles a year to 6-7,000 bottles in a good year. However, he kept the primary business focus on textiles.
Philippe Clicquot ran a successful textile business, so did Nicolas Ponsardin. In an attempt to consolidate the power of their two businesses, Mr. Ponsardin and Mr. Clicquot arranged a wedding between their children, which was common at the time.
François Clicquot and Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin were married on 10 June 1798.
After his marriage, François Clicquot was officially made his father's partner and on July the company name was changed to "Clicquot-Muiron et Fils". Sales increased from 8,000 bottles a year in 1796 to 60,000 in 1804. Little by little, all other activities unrelated to champagne industry were abandoned.
François Clicquot greatly expanded the company. He put it on a successful track. He also established a new practice: employing commercial travellers. In August 1801, François Clicquot began a long trip in Europe. Passing through Basel, he met Louis Bohne. Louis Bohne remained a faithful employee of the company all his life and became a valuable adviser to Madame Clicquot, even though he was usually stationed far away.
In 1801, Philippe Clicquot retired and left control to his son François.
After various trips through Europe, Louis Bohne came back to Reims in March 1803 with a book full of orders from the largest merchants and most important individual buyers. In the summer of 1804, the Clicquot champagne business first began to grow.
In October 1805, seven years after their wedding, Francois fell suddenly ill with a fever similar to typhoid. He died some days later, at the age of 30.