The Delhi launch of Chandon by Moet Hennessy was a glittering event befitting the stature of a company which is the world's biggest champagne house and a leading luxury group. Held on 1st February at the LAP Club in Samrat hotel, it was attended by the swish set of the capital. However, the two stars which shone brightly amidst all the glitz and glamour were the Chandon Brut and the Chandon Brut Rose, two locally made sparkling wines, from the Indian Moet Hennessy Estate.
Never before has the launch of a domestic wine brand created such a buzz in the markets and according to Gaurav Bhatia, Marketing Director, Moet Hennessy India," it is because Chandon comes with all the trappings of a Moet Hennessy brand - the lineage , savoir-faire , high quality and beauty" .
DelWine was present to cover the event and to speak with Jean-Guillaume Prats, President & CEO Estates & Wines: Moet Hennessy Wine Division, who had flown from Paris to host the event. Incidentally Feb 1st holds a special significance for Monsieur Prats as it was on this day exactly a year back that he had joined this prestigious group, after having worked as CEO for 12 years at the iconic Château Cos d’Estournel, a St.-Estephe based Second Growth Grand Cru Classé in Bordeaux. During his assignment at the Chateau once owned by his father, he was interviewed often by delWine. At his invitation Indian Wine Academy had also taken a group of wine aficionados to his winery for tasting during Vinexpo in 2005. His present portfolio includes Cloudy Bay (New Zealand), Cape Mantelle (Australia), Bodegas Numanthia Termes (Spain), Terrazas de los Andes and Cheval des Andes (Argentina), Newton Vineyards (Napa Valley) along with Chandon sparkling wines; it spans four continents.
According to Monsieur Prats, the unprecedented success of Chandon when it was launched in the Indian market in October 2013 took them all by surprise. They had not anticipated that it would be so well received despite being priced higher than its nearest Indian rivals, at Rs 1200 for the Brut and Rs 1400 for the Rose; for a short period they even ran out of supplies.
In the words of Monsieur Prats what Chandon is bringing to India is”Affordable Luxury ". The company is tremendously excited about the sparkling wine which is "made in and for India", and sees great potential for its success. It is seeking to capture the young urban youth for whom it is seen as a "celebratory drink.”
On being asked about any specific hurdles facing the company with regards to India , he replied "they were the same as what they encountered in other countries" and did not have anything negative to say in that regard. They see India as a key market and the biggest challenge for them is to ensure that the quality and supply are maintained. "Communication and Marketing” are the key words in their strategy.
Speaking about Chandon to delWine, Bruno Yvon, Managing Director Moet Hennessy India , said that the Moet sparklers were the result of a close collaboration between a team of international winemakers and the local grape growers of Nashik . He said that the bubbly will be available only at select outlets which had the facilities of storing it properly.
Talking about the composition of the two sparkling wines, Rohan Jelkie, recently appointed Brand Ambassador MHI said that the Brut is a blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with Chenin Blanc being the predominant grape as it is most suited to the growing conditions in India. The Rosé, on the other hand, is a Shiraz dominant blend with a small percentage of Pinot Noir. Both are made in the centuries-old sparkling wine-making practices of "méthode traditionelle".
Subhash Arora, President of the Indian Wine Academy who had been to the Mumbai Launch of Chandon but could not be present in Delhi as he had already accepted an invite to be at another one Launch in Bangalore, says, ’there is no doubt that the bubbly will be very successful in Delhi where more people have heard or tasted Moet e Chandon than a Margaux. But what is more important is that it will open up the market for sparkling wines and instill confidence in the minds of other foreign producers who are sitting on the fence, waiting for the winds to change to a more favourable direction before embarking on wine production in India.’
For the event, LAP was recreated into an ethereal place, with the ceiling looking like the night sky and the decor was indeed stunning. The guests were seen tapping their feet to a spectacular set by Parisian DJ Stephane Pompougnac who had come from Paris for the launch. Actor Kalki Koechlin was the guest of honour at the soiree. Chandon Brut and Chandon Brut Rose flowed generously and if once can surmise from the guests devouring the wine and having a sparklingly marvellous time, Chandon will be a hit with the Delhi-ites.
DelWine wishes great success to Chandon in the Delhi market as well.
For an earlier article about the Mumbai Launch, please visit , Chandon from Moet Launched in Mumbai
Lavina Kharkwal is a freelance writer on Food & Wine . She is also a member of the Delhi Wine Club.