“She decided to take over the management, she could have sold the company”, explains her great-nephew, Etienne Bizot.
Bollinger brought his champagne to the United States. For three months, she criss-crossed the whole country carrying her wines, alone. According to Bollinger’s official history, she gained such popularity that she was named “the first lady of France” by the Chicago American newspaper in 1961.
A few years later, Bollinger launched RD (recently disgorged) vintage Champagne, a technique it pioneered by aging the bottle with its lees, dead yeast and grape skins, for long periods of time, then removing the sediment from the bottle in hand. Champagne is still one of the brand’s most coveted cuvées today.
“I think what’s unusual about widows is that they [don’t] remarry,” Guy explained. “In a way, I think they didn’t because if they had remarried, they would have had to hand over part of the business to their husbands… They would lose their legal status, so in some ways it was a way of keeping their independence.”
The independence and creativity of the three widows paved the way for generations of women to come, and their innovations are immortalized in glass bottles.
“This group of women have really made a difference – they are very committed pioneers in key moments [of Champagne-making]and that importance is still represented,” said Mélanie Tarlant, a twelfth-generation winemaker and member of La Transmission, Femmes en Champagne, an association run by women for winemakers. She does not dosed Champagne (low sugar content), recalling that Pommery was the first to innovate in the technique it still uses today.
“He could have been lost in time.”
from BBC.com Table of the world “break the kitchen ceiling” by changing the way the world thinks about food, through the past, present and future.
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