This New Year's, Raise a Toast to the Strong-Willed Widow Who Reinvented Champagne

Veuve Clicquot made bubbly what it is today

Tragic deaths generally aren't good for business, with the notable exception of Veuve Clicquot. It was 1805, and Francois Clicquot, the owner of a failing vineyard in Reims, France, was felled by typhoid. His wife, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, had hailed from a wealthy family and easily could have shuttered the business. Instead, she invested her own inheritance in it and took over. She was 27.