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  • International Women’s Day 2024: The Women of Champagne

    7 March 2024


    Searcys Celebrates International Women’s Day (Friday 8th March 2024)

    As we celebrate International Women’s Day this month, we’ve been reflecting on the remarkable women who have left their mark on the world of champagne. Back in the early days of champagne production, women were often at the forefront, working tirelessly in the vineyards and overseeing the intricate fermentation process. However, it was the widows of Champagne who truly brought a unique perspective to the industry, with a focus on quality, sustainability, and innovation.

    One such pioneer was Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot. Widowed at the age of 27 in 1805, with a young daughter to care for and her winery on the brink of collapse amidst the turmoil of Napoleonic wars, Barbe-Nicole’s ingenuity led to several groundbreaking innovations in Champagne. She introduced the concept of vintage champagne, invented the riddling table, and crafted the first known blended rosé champagne. These innovations revolutionized champagne making and set the stage for modern production methods.

    Fast forward fifty years, and we encounter another trailblazer – Louise Pommery. Widowed at 39, Louise took the reins of Maison Pommery for three decades. With a keen eye on the English market, she pioneered the creation of a dry champagne to cater to British tastes, earning acclaim for her quality-first approach. Her 1874 vintage marked the debut of the first Brut champagne with a dosage of 8 grams, setting a new standard in the industry.

    In the 20th century, Lily Bollinger assumed leadership of the Bollinger house in 1941. Through her international travels, she elevated the house’s global profile and introduced innovative champagne styles. Notably, in 1952, she pioneered late disgorged wines, combining complexity from extended bottle aging with a fresh flavour profile—a true testament to her forward-thinking approach.

    Today, a new generation of women is driving the Champagne industry forward. Vitalie Taittinger, for instance, has taken on the role of President at Champagne Taittinger, embracing her family’s legacy while pushing for innovative collaborations, such as the Franco-British venture Domaine Évremond.

    Similarly, Charline Drappier of Maison Drappier (seen in photo) leads the charge in sustainability, crafting unconventional cuvées like Quattuor while inspiring women across the Champagne world through initiatives like “La Transmission Femmes en Champagne.”

    Moreover, with 18 prestigious houses now helmed by female Chef de Caves, including Séverine Frerson of Perrier-Jouët and Caroline Latrive of Deutz, women are spearheading environmental initiatives and driving forward sustainable viticulture practices.

    In reflecting on this inspiring leadership, one can’t help but think that Madame Clicquot, who transformed the champagne world in the 19th century, would be proud of the legacy and innovation carried forth by the new generation of women in Champagne.

    In celebration of the exceptional women of Champagne, Searcys are hosting a Champagne Dinner Pairing Evening, in which the event will pay tribute to the great women who have been so influential in the history of the world’s most famous drink. Expect a delightful three-course dinner perfectly paired with a range of Champagnes as well as the insightful stories of them and the women behind them. Find out more and book your tickets here.

    As part of Searcys Series of Ticketed Events, Searcys host themed Champagne tastings each month, to explore our full list of upcoming events, click here.


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