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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:22

Passing By: Export Manager of Joseph Drouhin

Christophe Thomas, the export manager of the premier family owned Burgundy producer Maison Joseph Drouhin was in India last week. He disclosed that MJD has recently become a part of wine distribution in India by taking a small stake in Prestige Wines owned by Miguel Torres and his foreign associates holding 50%.

In an exclusive to delWine, Christophe said that the company believed that the future of imported wines was bright in India and was keen to support the market in a bigger way, and hence the decision of Frederic Drouhin, co-owner. When asked whether the small stake of around 5% taken from the existing foreign partners would make any difference, he said that this was only the beginning and in fact only the beginning, indicating positive vibrations from the company. ‘We would like to have a bigger stake as and when available.’

Joseph Drouhin is a member of the PFV which includes 12 family owned wineries (currently 11) which include Torres, a majority foreign partner in the Prestige Winery in which Gautam Thapar is the Indian partner with 50% stake. Joseph Drouhin’s entry would not change the Indian partner’s stake, confirmed Thomas.

‘We had to reintroduce the product as there was a gap of almost one year when the brand was out of the market,’ says Sumit Sehgal, Chief General Manager. MJD wines were being imported for several years by Global Tax-Free Traders until the end of 2008 and there was no substitution for almost a year when we re-introduced it in the market towards the end of last year,’ adds Sumit.

Although the company is also known for high quality premium wines including Grand Cru (the highest quality in the Burgundy echelon), only a few select products are being exported to India currently, some of the existing labels in the market being Puligny-Montrachet, Pouilly-Fuissé, Chablis, La Foret Bourgogne Blanc in the whites and Cote de Beaune Villages, Cote de Nuits Villages, Gevrey-Chambertin, La Foret Bourgogne Pinot Noir Red. It also sells the Cru Beaujolais Moulin a Vent and a Beaujolais Villages label, which are slightly more affordable.

The whites are made from Chardonnay whereas the Burgundy reds are from Pinot Noir. Beaujolais are fermented from Gamay red grapes, a cousin varietal of Pinot.

‘Out of the above, we are selling Beaujolais in Duty Paid segments at the MRP of Rs. 2000. It is available at the newly opened wine shop at DLF Wine Shop, Saket Mall, owned by DSIDC’, expounded Sumit..
And what is the strategy for 2010-11- I asked? ‘Our strategy for MJD for the year 2010-11 is to re-establish the brand in the market, conducting tastings and training session to create the awareness at the ground level to the top. Once we have wines on various hotel menu’s then we will do bigger promotions like wine dinners and events with the family,’ said Christophe with Sumit adding that, ‘also, we are working on the labels to capture the Duty paid segment which is quite strong in India.’
As a word of caution, Christophe added that the market for imported wines was still unpredictable and in an infancy state in India,’ but we hope to become a substantial supplier of imported wines, in particular the Burgundy wines.’

When asked the reason for discontinuing with Global, Christophe was not willing to divulge any info officially, but he did confirm that the accounts were all settled and the parting was amicable.



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