Which wine professional wrote this bit of advice to a grandchild: “The world is in perpetual motion, and we must invent the things of tomorrow. You must go before others, be determined and exacting, and let your intelligence direct your life. Act with audacity.”

A. Edmond de Rothschild

B. Michael Broadbent

C. Nicole (Veuve) Clicquot

D. Robert Mondavi


Nicole Clicquot (known as Veuve— “Widow”—Clicquot) was born Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin in 1777 in Reims, in the Champagne region of France. She was the daughter of one of the city’s wealthy textile merchants. At the age of 21, Nicole Ponsardin was married (in an arranged marriage) to Francois Clicquot, the son of a competing textile merchant. Although in line to inherit major textile firms, Both Nicole and Francois were more interested in wine, which both of their families produced, in addition to textiles. Francois died after only seven years of marriage from what may have been a suicide, but in the end, was attributed to typhoid. Nicole, still in her 20s, took over the fledgling wine business much to the dismay of her in-laws. Although the business was failing at the time, Nicole Clicquot built the Champagne house into one of the most successful in France and made Champagne a fixture in royal courts throughout Europe in the 19th century. Quite the businesswoman, she also invented riddling racks (pupitres)—A-shaped frames—that, after the second fermentation, are used to collect yeasts in the necks of Champagne bottles so that the yeasts can be removed. In addition, her 1810 vintage Champagne is thought to have been the very first vintage Champagne. The quote above is from a letter Nicole Clicquot wrote to a grandchild in the last years of her life.

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