The first bottles arriveThe first shipment to Melbourne was on 4 January 1859. Bordeaux firm J.H.D. Becker Fils sent Madame Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin an order for 180 bottles of champagne to be sent to its agent in Melbourne. Madame Clicquot prepared 15 cases of 12 bottles marked H.L. & C., containing a total of 180 bottles of white champagne from 1856, as recorded in the shipment book for 1859.
On 15 September 1859 a further case of 36 bottles arrived to J.H.D. Becker Fils in Sydney. The case, marked B.F n° 37, was loaded aboard the Condor, which left the port of Bordeaux on 8 June 1859.
Distribution beginsIn the 1860s, orders for Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin champagne were distrbuted from Bordeaux and London. The Bordeaux firm Curcier & Adet shipped between 30 and 50 cases of Madame Clicquot’s wine every year to its outlets in Melbourne and Sydney. One of the members of the Sydney office travelled to Reims in 1864 to meet Madame Clicquot.
Robert Selby, followed by S.B.J. Selby, representatives of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin for the UK and the Crown Empire, sent orders for champagne from British merchants several times a year to their branches and customers in Australia. Selby’s role as agent for the Australian market progressed and grew over the following years.
In Australia In a letter addressed to Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin on 12 June 1897, H. Parrot, the brand’s agent for the UK and its colonies, rejoiced at the company’s decision to set up a sub-agency in Australia. “We read with much interest and satisfaction what you have written to us concerning the representation of your brand in Australasia [sic] and we will without delay set about putting together our plans for the sale of our wines in these countries that have come under the control of the British agency.”
It took a year to set up the distribution system, “a period that required serious efforts on our part to place your brand in the best position possible on the Australian market”, apologised H. Parrot. On 23 June 1898, H. Parrot announced the first shipments via the Australian sub-agency’s intermediary, Dalgety & Co., in relation with its many branches in Victoria, New Zealand, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.
The Australian BicentennialIn 1988, Veuve Clicquot designed a special label to celebrate the bicentennial of the founding of Australia.
Veuve Clicquot in Australia todayToday across Australia Veuve Clicquot is celebrated as one of the most popular Champagnes in the country.