Viva Les Veuves!
The history of Champagne is liberally sprinkled with the success of larger-than-life women, many of them widows. Unlike many women in the early 19th century, widows (veuve, in French) enjoyed the independence necessary to run a business. While unmarried women were dependent on their fathers or brothers and married women were forced to rely on their husband’s money, widows were allowed to own property and businesses and control their own finances. In fact, the Champagne Widows were so successful that some champagne houses without their own widow added “Veuve” to their labels anyway! Some of the most famous widows and their iconic Champagne houses include:
Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot – Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
Louise Pommery – Pommery
Mathilde Emilie Laurent-Perrier – Laurent-Perrier
Elisabeth “Lily” Law de Lauriston-Boubers Bollinger – Bollinger