The month of March won’t be complete without the celebration of International Women’s Day. One of the ways we love to celebrate this occasion is by remembering the “firsts” by some amazing women. Naturally, these are women who made essential contributions to the wine world:
It all started when Barbe-Nicole Clicquot’s husband François passed away, leaving her in control of a company that produced champagne among other things. Madame Clicquot focused her efforts on the champagne business. She then gave birth to a technique known as “riddling” to enhance the champagnes they produced. Basically, riddling is a process that removes sediment from champagne. At this time in history (1700’s to 1800’s), champagne was actually a cloudy, murky drink that looked more like heavy beer. Madame Clicquot decided that this should not be the case, so she dedicated her efforts in developing this technique. Thanks to her, the riddling technique has been adopted by almost every champagne house. Centuries after, the process has become more refined with the use of more sophisticated tools. Thanks to Madame Clicquot, we are able to enjoy “sparkling” wines and champagnes!
For those who are not in the know yet, Isabelle Simi is the first female winemaker in California. In 1904, the Simi brothers and founders of Simi Winery died suddenly due to a flu epidemic. This left Guiseppe Simi’s daughter, Isabelle, to take over the management of the family business. Isabelle was only around 18 years old when this happened. This incredible woman was able to devise a way to run one of the few wineries during the “prohibition” decade. She achieved this by producing specially licensed “sacramental” wine. By law, she was required to sell off the vineyards, but was able to keep making the wine in her cellar. When prohibition ended, she had a 25,000 gallon wine cask available for tastings. She also had tons of inventory to sell to legal wine lovers everywhere. Bravo, Isabelle!
Last but certainly not the least, we pay tribute to the first American woman sommelier: Madeline Triffon. This title is bequeathed in a technical sense, as Madam Triffon is the first American woman to earn the prestigious Master Sommelier title in 1987. At the time, “Detroit’s First Lady of Wine” as she became known, was 1 of only 9 other Americans that held this title. Today, Madeline is the Master Sommelier at Plum Market. See her “Mad Picks” and their awesome Wine Events here. ^_^
Credits to Cork Guru for the factual data.