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The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It (2008)

Tekijä: Tilar J. Mazzeo

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5312846,652 (3.36)57
Biography & Autobiography. Business. Nonfiction. HTML:

Veuve Clicquot champagne epitomizes glamour, style, and luxury. But who was this young widow---the Veuve Clicquot---whose champagne sparkled at the courts of France, Britain, and Russia, and how did she rise to celebrity and fortune?

In The Widow Clicquot, Tilar J. Mazzeo brings to life for the first time the fascinating woman behind the iconic yellow label: Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin. A young witness to the dramatic events of the French Revolution and a new widow during the chaotic years of the Napoleonic Wars, Barbe-Nicole defied convention by assuming---after her husband's death---the reins of the fledgling wine business they had nurtured. Steering the company through dizzying political and financial reversals, she became one of the world's first great businesswomen and one of the richest women of her time.

Although the Widow Clicquot is still a legend in her native France, her story has never been told in all its richness---until now. Painstakingly researched and elegantly written, The Widow Clicquot provides a glimpse into the life of a woman who arranged clandestine and perilous champagne deliveries to Russia one day and entertained Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte on another. She was a daring and determined entrepreneur, a bold risk taker, and an audacious and intelligent woman who took control of her own destiny when fate left her on the brink of financial ruin. Her legacy lives on today, not simply through the famous product that still bears her name, but now through Mazzeo's finely crafted book. As much a fascinating journey through the process of making this temperamental wine as a biography of a uniquely tempered woman, The Widow Clicquot is utterly intoxicating.

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 28) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
The book provides a history of the revolutions of France in the 19th century, the history of the beginnings and development of champagne, and to some extent, the history of the woman who played an important part in that development, the Veuve Clicquot. That woman is meant to be the center of the book, but for lack of any real information about her, most of what is written about her is prefaced with maybe, perhaps, possibly, and probably. There is also a tremendous amount of repetition throughout. Do publishers pay by the page?

Having said that, if you are interested in the history of how champagne came to be champagne and the wine that we all celebrate with, or you are interested in the history of important but relatively unknown women, this book will interest you, despite its faults. ( )
  dvoratreis | May 22, 2024 |
An interesting look at Barb-Nicole Clicquot, the widow (veuve in French) behind the world-renowned Veuve Clicquot champagne. There is not much documentation about Madam Clicquot, so the author has to resort to some supposition, but she does it well and never in an exaggerated manner. There is more documentation about the times and the industry itself, which the author uses to fill in the story. A very compelling look at the life of a woman who lived outside the normal rules and expectations for women and turned her small business into an international success during the time of the French Revolution and other major wars. Really, the book was a perfect blend of the life of Madam Clicquot and the times she lived in, making for a rich portrayal of her story.

While reading the book, I purchased a half-bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne and enjoyed it. It was fun to examine the label and understand the significance of aspects of it. And I certainly had a greater appreciation than ever before for how much work is required to generate those lovely and lively bubbles. ( )
  LynnB | Jul 15, 2023 |
A captivating biography of the founder of Veuve Clicquot.
The author manages to deliver an engaging biography of a woman who left almost no documentary basis for a biography. This means that there are many instances of hedging phrases - 'it's likely that . . .' or 'she must have .. .'
But there are a few key facts available, and combined with the background history of the times, a 'life' is compellingly described.
The subject was a risk-taking business owner, with a couple of the risks paying off hugely. She was also the creator of the sediment disgorging process that made large scale champagne production feasible.
Among other things, the reader learns that the Dom Perignon tale is a ludicrous fable; that 'champagne' was first produced in Britain; and that the type of champagne that made the Veuve Clicquot label famous in the early 1800s was extremely sweet and higher in alcohol - nothing like what we now consume. ( )
  mbmackay | Oct 14, 2022 |
The Widow Clicquot is a biography of Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot. After the death of her husband she became driven to succeed as a champagne vintner and created the Veuve Clicquot brand. Veuve means widow in French. Nicole was called Veuve Clicquot by her contemporaries and that is how the brand got its name. I think it is the best champagne in the world.

The book begins in 1789 Reims with an eleven year old Nicole. When the French Revolution arrived in Reims, Nicole had to leave the royal school she attended and be disguised as a peasant in order to safely return to her home. Soon thereafter, her family was discussing possible matches for a marriage. Nicole was lucky to catch the dashing François Clicquot. François was from a wealthy textile family. He, however, preferred to dabble in the production of wine than working in the textile business. François died early in the marriage. A business competitor, Jean-Remy Moet, told everyone who would listen that François killed himself because his business was failing. However, Nicole vowed to make something from her husband's vines. Moet, though, continued to lie about Nicole to keep her business from growing. He wanted her out of business so that he could buy her land.

During this era sparkling wine was rare. It was not yet called champagne. It was vin mousseux. I was surprised to read that there were several successful women in the wine business during the 18th century. I always thought Nicole was a trailblazing anomaly but she wasn't. These other women were not from the bourgeois class and had more freedom to become entrepreneurs than Nicole had.

Most of the book discusses the problems Nicole had in building her company. She had to deal with the internal politics of France as well as Russian politics. Russia was where she could sell alot of wine, if she could get her bottles over there. Moet again was a trouble maker. He frequently thwarted her plans to have her bottles put on ships that were headed towards her market in St. Petersburg. It kind of makes me want to ban Moet champagne in my household so I can be in solidarity with Nicole. She is definitely seen as a heroine in the book, almost like a character would be in a fiction book.

The Widow Clicquot tells an inspirational story that anyone can prosper if they don't give up. It took Nicole a lifetime to reach her goal. I think today people would give up after a few years of poor sales but our heroine had a vision that she could not ignore.

4 out of 5 stars ( )
  Violette62 | Mar 5, 2022 |
I’m not a drinker, so I don’t have any connection to this champagne except the fact that a gifted-to-me mini bottle (whatever those are called) sat in my refrigerator for over three years once before I realized it was still back there and gave it away.

This is a fascinating and frustrating biography of a woman whose name is world-renowned, but there is nothing really known about her besides a few letters that survived her. The author straight up says that she didn’t have much to work with, but I liked the speculative backstory she created for Barbe-Nicole. She was a woman who took chances left and right, but for the time still had to rely on men (it’s amazing to me that apparently Russians in the 19th century would only drink her sparkling wine, yet she never left France in any of her 89 years). There was a lot of French history that I enjoyed as well since apparently my knowledge stops after Marie-Antoinette’s head came off and starts back up with the Impressionists.

Listening to the audiobook makes me want to find a physical copy to see if there’s any type of bibliography, but I liked the narrator and am also now interested in learning French again because apparently the city of Reims is pronounced “rahss” (with some phlegm in there for good measure). ( )
  spinsterrevival | Sep 8, 2021 |
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (10 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Tilar J. Mazzeoensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
Ericksen, SusanKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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For Noelle and Roberta, more than ever
Ensimmäiset sanat
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Prologue: This is the story of French champagne, but it didn't start amid the splendor of a countryside chateau.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

Biography & Autobiography. Business. Nonfiction. HTML:

Veuve Clicquot champagne epitomizes glamour, style, and luxury. But who was this young widow---the Veuve Clicquot---whose champagne sparkled at the courts of France, Britain, and Russia, and how did she rise to celebrity and fortune?

In The Widow Clicquot, Tilar J. Mazzeo brings to life for the first time the fascinating woman behind the iconic yellow label: Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin. A young witness to the dramatic events of the French Revolution and a new widow during the chaotic years of the Napoleonic Wars, Barbe-Nicole defied convention by assuming---after her husband's death---the reins of the fledgling wine business they had nurtured. Steering the company through dizzying political and financial reversals, she became one of the world's first great businesswomen and one of the richest women of her time.

Although the Widow Clicquot is still a legend in her native France, her story has never been told in all its richness---until now. Painstakingly researched and elegantly written, The Widow Clicquot provides a glimpse into the life of a woman who arranged clandestine and perilous champagne deliveries to Russia one day and entertained Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte on another. She was a daring and determined entrepreneur, a bold risk taker, and an audacious and intelligent woman who took control of her own destiny when fate left her on the brink of financial ruin. Her legacy lives on today, not simply through the famous product that still bears her name, but now through Mazzeo's finely crafted book. As much a fascinating journey through the process of making this temperamental wine as a biography of a uniquely tempered woman, The Widow Clicquot is utterly intoxicating.

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