July 18: Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB)-the well-known international wine competition has taken on an innovative project of setting up a unique Wine Bar in Mexico City to be launched this month in the business center where only CMB Award-winning wines will be stocked, with almost half the wines from Mexico and the balance from 54 countries participating in the competition, writes Subhash Arora who has been judging at CMB for over a decade and feels it is a brilliant business concept that can be replicated in several participating countries
The wine bar goes a few steps beyond the classic one, with the main objective being to create a showcase for the wines awarded by the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB), and allied competitions it organises-including Mexico Selection by CMB, Concours Mondial du Sauvignon and Spirits Selection by CMB.
Wines served will be selected only from the medal winning wines, ensuring the stamp of quality from international wine experts from over 50 countries. It will open with 250 wines and spirits displayed in the Wine Library which can store 700 labels. “Our aim is to feature the thousands of winners from all 54 countries participating in the competition every year, says Baudouin Havaux, Chairman of CMB and director of Vinopres which owns the Competition.
The Wine Bar by CMB is part of a project, initiated over two years ago in collaboration with Carlos Borboa, a sommelier, journalist and communicator, who represents CMB in Mexico and is director of Mexico Selection. ‘This is indeed a great achievement we are proud of since the wine bar will offer awarded wines from all around the world. We are convinced that it is a real added value for our awarded producers to give them more visibility. Moreover, it will allow consumers to taste different quality wine from different countries in one temple of wine,’ Baudouin informs delWine.
The excitement in this concept is that it can be open practically in all the countries that send samples to CMB. ‘Our goal is of course, to replicate it in other parts of the world. Why not India, for instance?!’ exclaims Havaux. Unfortunately, one has to wait for a few years before Indians can afford to send samples at the competition with their limited resources. More importantly, the registration costs for each label is so expensive in Delhi and the customs duties so high that the cost becomes prohibitive unless volumes imported and sold are very large to justify per- bottle cost increase. But the prospects of tasting wines from 54 countries are indeed very exciting.
The largest wine bar in Latin America
With its impressive 650 sq. mtrs space the Wine Bar by CMB is apparently the largest wine bar in Latin America and one of the biggest wine cellars in Mexico. The historic building has been completely renovated to offer visitors multiple spaces that can give new experience on every visit.
As you enter you will be welcome with a huge blackboard type of a wall that showcases wines by the glass for the week. High tables, comfortable European-style benches, Amorim cork walls ordered from Portugal, and a display of over 1,500 Bohemian Royal Crystal glasses offered for tasting, surround the large central bar in this spectacular wine venue.
The Ningxia Wine Pavilion
Promoting a number of producer regions across the globe, the Wine Bar by CMB houses the permanent Ningxia wine pavilion from Ningxia, China. The cellar is decorated in pure Chinese style with metallic ceramics and marble fused with clay amphoras. Wooden niches and LCD screens will help showcase award-winning Ningxia wines from different platforms of the CMB. Ningxia is being promoted heavily in the world because of its spectacular wines and this first Pavilion of its kind will generate a lot of interest in the region.
The Wine Library
‘The 700-bottle capacity Wine Library decorated with the fine wood and original ornaments of the early-20th-century building is a real show-stopper. ‘The area stands as one of the largest and most beautiful cellars open to the public in the whole of Mexico and Latin America. Fully air-conditioned, it shows utmost respect for wine storage requirements thanks to its innovative LED lighting design,’ says Quentin Havaux, Baudouin’s son, a Project Manager with Vinopres.
United Airlines, the airline partner looks after the private lounge at the top of the Wine Library and is reserved exclusively for its guests. Eight persons can enjoy a comfortable and privileged view of 230 wines and spirits awarded at the Mexico Selection by CMB 2019. Marble tables, fine wood, leather and velvet armchairs, as well as an LCD screen reproducing views of vineyards around the world, complement the experience.
The Oak Room
The Oak Room is a perfect choice for those looking for a more relaxed area. Inspired by vintage European bars of the early 20th century, with plant motifs and tapestries that reproduce the shape of the European oak welcome guests in this room with the walls meticulously restored, featuring images of the annual competitions and host regions of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. The warm lighting is blended with modern armchairs, simple tables and sofas in the European style. Grey velvet curtains with gold trimmings and a rare Japanese orange, frame the large central window of the Oak Room.
The Mexican wine market
The Mexican market is a strategic choice for the first such Wine Bar since Mexico- like India, is both a producer and consumer nation with a similar wine history and background. It has become one of the most dynamic markets in the world, both in terms of consumption and the development of its wine industry. New vineyards emerge almost every day here. Being the cosmopolitan mega capital, Mexico also offers many advantages for testing the Wine Bar by CMB.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the opening is more like a pre-launch because current circumstances due to Covid-19 do not allow the organisers to roll out the inaugural program planned earlier. But it raises the hope of one of the future editions of Concours Mondial de Bruxelles to be held in the Mexican capital. Meanwhile, if you are ever in Mexico City and are a wine connoisseur, The Wine Bar by CMB should surely be on your Must-Visit List.
Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is a well-established international wine competition held in Brussels till 2005 after which it became a traveling competition held in a different city/country every year. After being invited for the first time in Valencia in 2009, Subhash Arora has been invited for all the CMB competitions that followed: Palermo-Italy (2010), Luxembourg (2011), Guimarães-Portugal (2012), Bratislava-Slovakia (2013), Brussels (2014), Jesolo-Italy (2015), Plovdiv-Bulgaria (2016), Valladolid-Spain (2017), Haidian District Beijing (2018) and Aisle–Switzerland (2019). This year it has been postponed from May 1-3 to September in Brno Czech Republic (2020) and though he has been invited, the travel is uncertain.
For a few of the earlier related Articles related to CMB, visit:
3RD Edition of BRWSC highlights Ningxia as Top Wine Region of China
CMB 2019: Chasselas Forever King of Swiss White Grapes
CMB 2018: Concours Mondial in China More than Wine Competition
CMB 2018: Concours Mondial de Bruxelles goes out of Europe to China
CMB 2017: Spanish Wines Excel at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles
CMB 2016: Sweet Success for Concours Mondial and the Host Bulgaria
CMB 2013: Record Ratings for Rosés from Roussillon & Mancha
Concours Mondial de Bruxelles opens at Guimaraes