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Chandon from Moet Launched in Mumbai

Posted: Tuesday, 22 October 2013 12:13

Chandon from Moet Launched in Mumbai

Oct 22: The much awaited Launch of Chandon Brut and Chandon Rose Brut , the bubbly pair from the Champagne House of Moet Hennessy fructified finally last Saturday, a year after the original forecasted release. The event held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai was highly successful, with over 1200 people attending the launch and seen drinking the wines and enjoying themselves, writes Subhash Arora who was at the launch

Click For Large ViewThey say good wine tastes better in the company of good friends. But if you also get it for free, the taste becomes excellent. So it was an invited group of over 1200 people that got to taste and drink ‘excellent’ Chandon Brut and Chandon Rose Brut at the Launch at Hotel Four Seasons where the wine, food and DJ music reached a crescendo well past midnight last Saturday evening after the Mumbai Glitterati walked in.

As reported and predicted by delWine in February 2011, when the world outside Nashik barely

 knew about the bubbly bomb-shell in the making, Moet Hennessy India, the Indian division of the world famous luxury product conglomerate, LVMH, finally did decide to name their bubbly ‘Chandon.’ No award to delWine for guessing correctly though. In all the other countries outside France - Argentina, Click For Large ViewBrazil, Australia and the USA - Moet labels its local bubblies as Chandon. The one exception is that the company owning the label in India is not called Domaine Chandon. With all its fineries including a beautiful moon and star, it is directly under Moet Hennessey India headed by Bruno Yvon, informed Dr. Wilboon Arunthanes (I will address him simply as Arun, when I meet him next), the Regional & Business Development Director of Moet Hennessy for Asia Pacific (‘my boss’, as Bruno introduced him to me.)  ‘Arun’ was a part of the entourage of several big wigs from the LVMH group across Asia Pacific, who came especially for the Launch, including Ian Morden, the Estate Director of the luxury winery Cloudy Bay, who was behind the project when it was conceived and was a popular man at the launch.

Click For Large ViewIn his short speech, Mark Bedingham, the visiting Managing Director of Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific said, “Moët Hennessy has traditionally been a pioneer in developing sparkling wines in new locations around the world and India is the latest example,”  adding, “With the launch of Chandon, we aim to bring wine-making and the wine culture in India to new heights. "In what is seen as a boost to Nashik as a wine producing region of India, he also said that Nashik is certainly the wine-making heartland of India and offered grape growing conditions that are conducive to creating world-class sparkling wines.

The launch at the Four Seasons was impressive and enthralling. The garden behind the Mansion Room and extending outside Café Prato, all the way to the internal road leading to the exit of the Four Seasons Hotel, was converted into a big party place and despite the humid air outside, the party people enjoyed themselves over Chandon bubblies, later supplemented by Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot and a dash of Glenmorangie and Belvedere for the thirsties. 

The ‘interiors’ were opulent as may well be expected from the money power-oops- Moet Power. People were divided down the middle on which was the preferred bubbly of the two. I preferred Rose’ but Magandeep Singh was more diplomatic. In his opinion, ‘I’d prefer Brut as an aperitif and Rose Brut with my meals.’ The polarity in opinions would be good for the Brand power and sales in the market. Incidentally, the Brut is Chenin-based with 8% each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay added to the blend. Rose is Shiraz-heavy with a smattering of Pinot Noir added. Kelly Healey, the winemaker who has been stationed in Nashik for several months, was a very pleased man and could not help smiling the whole evening.

Click For Large ViewThe launch was understandably one of a kind the city has seen and very tasteful. The legendary powers of persuasion of Moet Hennessey were quite in evidence with so many celebrities like Sushmita Sen, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Mandira Bedi, Sohail Khan, A D Singh (of Olive) and Arjun Rampal turning up and staying well beyong the V hours shaking a leg to the music directed by a DJ from Paris, reportedly flown in for one night only.

The big surprise has been a lower than expected retail price announced by Moet Hennessy for Chandon sparklers - delWine had predicted the price to be on the lower side of Rs.1300-1500 because of several imported options available at around Rs.1700. At Rs.1200 a bottle, the Brut is priced too close to the Sula Brut at around Rs.900 and the just-launched Fratelli at over Rs.1000 a bottle. Grover-Zampa sparkling variants are also in the same ball-park. With the marketing clout and the big brand image of Moet Chandon, internationally and in India, it is bound to cut into their market share, even though in the short term they need not worry because it has only around 4000 cases to sell and will most likely concentrate on promotions rather than the sales, which will be on its agenda when its own winery is ready for the next crush (so far it has depended on York winery, as already reported by delWine in February 2011). The pressure will build up as supplies increase with their own winery coming up in Dindori.

No wonder Sula is sweating, Fratelli is fretting. Grover hasn’t started growling yet but they are possibly working out their strategy. Sula has been improving upon its products and officially launched the revamped version of their three bubblies last Monday. Fratelli hurriedly announced its launch on Friday, a day before THE Launch and seems to be so shaken up that it disrobed its Italian attire and donned the French one overnight as it announced its Gran Cuvee (the label description is as French as it can get). Chandon may not mind but the parent Moet Hennessy and CIVC may not take too kindly to their explicit boast about their bubbly being made using ‘Methode Champenoise’ (both Sula and GZ use the same method, technically known as Methode Traditionelle); even Chandon would not be permitted to use this word reserved exclusively for the production of champagne in Champagne District.

Click For Large ViewBoth Sula and Grover may take umbrage to Fratelli’s claim that their Gran Cuvee is ‘India’s finest sparkling wine’- in the very first release. Kapil Sekhri, MD of Fratelli seems to have softened the stance somewhat by proclaiming it to be only ‘one of the finest sparkling wines in the country.’

Brand power apart, how is the wine quality, one may ask? For the first vintage produced at York winery, it could be termed outstanding. Bruno made no explicit claim of it being the best in India - yet. In fact, despite the marketing and money clout that Moet Hennessy has the presence of around 1200+ guests that included celebrities, socialites, journalists, media and  sommeliers was evidence enough that the duo was also checking out the wine quality while making a visit to the ‘First Day First Show At the Movies’. Bruno and every member of his team were fully aware of the impact the launch was making but were very careful in appearing humble and giving the impression that the intent was not to encroach into the existing sparkling wine market but to expand the category, a comment the duo of Sula and Grover is not likely to take at its face value. A dent in the sales in the beginning is inevitable as the wines are ready for sale in Mumbai and Delhi next month and the eventual national roll-out follows.

Looking at the people guzzling down the Chandon Brut and Chandon Rose Brut, one would think that the sparkling wine market was ready to explode. But, if past record is any indication, people empty the wine glasses faster than their wallets. So, one would have to wait for the results but it was clear that by the time journalists put their pens down, the whole wine loving community in Mumbai and India is bound to know about Chandon sparklers and would be curious to try the wine. Anything less than a 100% growth would be a disappointment for the industry and in fact the wine culture growth. This will obviously not happen this year.

Sula sells around 30,000 cases of Brut and Rose Brut, besides around 10,000 cases of the lesser bubbly, Seco. Grover Zampa has about 3000-4000 cases to its sales credit annually. These quantities are besides the Champagne market, practically monopolized by Moet Chandon with over 80% market share. If Chandon is able to shake up people and create new interest in wine and bubblies, it could well be a boon for the Indian market.

For the moment, team Chandon is soaking in the bubbles and enjoying a highly successful launch of a product that one hopes, might be a defining moment for sparkling wines in India.

For a related article, also  read: Desi Champagne Chandon from Moët Hennessy

Subhash Arora

Tags: Chandon Brut, Chandon Rose Brut , Moet Hennessy, Hotel Four Seasons, Moet Hennessy India, Chandon, Bruno Yvon, Dr. Wilboon Arunthanes, Ian Morden, Cloudy Bay, Mark Bedingham, Kelly Healey, York winery, Champagne



Janak Desai Says:

Where Can I get Moet &Chandon Rose in Mumbai from ?

Posted @ April 11, 2014 15:56


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