The First Label
In the beginning, Madame Clicquot was skeptical about putting a label on her bottles, repeatedly denouncing the practice as “a quackery.” After all, a label could contain information that could be true or not. She asserted that only a wine’s quality should account for its brand recognition, not the pompous references that might be written onto its labels. However, she was eager to conquer the American market, one that had a tendency to value what would eventually become known as “packaging.” And so, Madame Clicquot was finally convinced to dress her bottles with a label, but she insisted it be as “simple as it was elegant and luxurious, without excessive decoration.” Her “indispensable and utmost condition” was that the label could not state “anything that wasn’t entirely true.” This honorable request was honored with the first label of the Maison, stating simply “Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin” on its front. This concise labelling was a revolutionary approach for the era, as other champagne brands were covered in words and décor.
The Yellow Clicquot for the Drier Champagne
The United Kingdom was the first market of the Maison, and from 1876 onwards there grew a demand for a less sweet champagne; the British liked to drink Champagne wine with their meals. Veuve Clicquot delivered, but it became necessary to differentiate this “dry” champagne from the original, which had had a white label. Thus the famous yellow-colored label of Veuve Clicquot was first launched in 1877, delineating a drier champagne, and forming the foundations of what would become today’s famed Yellow Label. Evolving the new label from the original white design, yellow was chosen because it was slightly darker than the white, and a color less likely to fade with time – as bottles were often aged before being enjoyed. At this time in the UK, one would typically age a bottle of champagne for two years before opening it.
Yellow Shines as the Light of Innovation
An avant-garde color for the time, and far from similar to any other Champagne Maison’s aesthetic codes, yellow has today come to represent the infallible audacity of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. Later on, yellow became the color used abundantly by artists in their important works towards the end of the 19th century. This colorful foresight was praised by Bertrand de Mun, the Maison’s Director from the first part of the 20th century, who mused, “Our yellow, so brilliant, bright and gay, reflects the concentrated sunshine that is bottled within our champagne.”