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Film to highlight female entrepreneurship in Champagne

A film due for launch at Cannes this year will shine a spotlight on the influence of “great female entrepreneurs” on the development of Champagne over the centuries.

Madame Clicquot was born in Reims in 1777

Called Sparkling: The Story of Champagne, the film has been created by London-based production company Swipe Films, and is described as a feature length documentary, as db first reported on 14 January.

Director Frank Mannion said it was “a love letter to the joys and pleasures of Champagne,” before telling db exclusively last week that the production would, among other things, draw attention to the “influence of great female entrepreneurs going back 200 years or more.”

He picked out a trio of “dynamic” women who he said had had a powerful effect on the development of Champagne internationally, mentioning Madame Pommery, Madame Clicquot, (otherwise known as Veuve (widow) Clicquot), and Lily Bollinger.

He also mentioned Odette Pol-Roger, whose great friendship with British statesman Sir Winston Churchill had a strong influence on the image of the fizz in the UK.

Speaking of these figures collectively, Mannion told db, “They were ambassadors for their respective Champagne houses and Champagne itself.”

He also stressed that the role of women in Champagne was not purely historical, mentioning the presence of powerful female entrepreneurs in the region today, such as the president of Champagne Taittinger, Vitalie Taittinger.

Looking more broadly at the sparkling wine sector, he added that “female figures aren’t just limited to France,” noting that the Queen is the proud owner of a vineyard planted with Champagne grapes at Windsor Great Park, and has served the effervescent produce from this plot at major state banquets.

Indeed, it is this fizz-making site that also features in the film, alongside other investments in sparkling winemaking in the UK, above all those by Champagne houses themselves.

Concluding on the role of women in Champagne over the centuries he said, “It is clear that they had a keen eye for marketing in what was, for sure, a male-dominated world.”

The film was shot on location in France, England and New York. Frank Mannion directed the film, and it is produced by Oxana Popkova and Frank Mannion, and edited by Charlie Emseis.

Swipe Films is completing post-production on Sparkling:The Story of Champagne, and will launch it at the Cannes Film Festival this summer.

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