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Penfolds Ambassador Cant Visits India

Posted: Tuesday, 10 December 2013 11:06

Passing By: Penfolds Ambassador Cant Visits India

Dec 10: Simon Cant, the Singapore-based Brand Ambassador of Penfolds, one of the constituents of the Treasury Wine Estate (TWE) was in India last week on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai along with the Regional Business Manager of TWE, Yodissen Mootoosamy when Subhash Arora met him for a chat at a private dinner at Eest Restaurant, at Westin Gurgaon, known for its Pan Asian cuisine

Click For Large ViewWhen you think of Penfolds, the first label to hit your mind is the iconic Penfolds Grange, the 2008 vintage of which received 100 points from Robert Parker as well as Wine Spectator, that saw the prices sky-rocket by around 20%. Released in May, the wine was sold out by July. ‘We normally have a window of 3 months to sell it but this time it was sold out much earlier,’ says Cant, who defends the price increase because ‘this is perhaps the only wine in the Southern Hemisphere that is the equivalent of a Bordeaux First Growth’ but concedes it is after all only a matter of supply and demand.

Selling at US $780 a bottle, Penfolds Grange is naturally on allocation and despite the higher prices, Mohan Bros., who hosted the dinner for me, always complains that they don’t get enough allocation. A production of about 5,000 cases is not enough to feed the world demand. ‘The big Chateaux in Bordeaux produce manifolds and still are able to sell all their stocks at much higher prices,’ says Simon.

The power of branding is known to no one better than Penfolds which has Brand Ambassadors throughout the world, the Asian part of which is represented by Simon Cant who is the public face of the Brand. His role is to educate the customers, participate in branding exercises like wine dinners etc and working with the sales team connecting dots. 'Typically the sales people look at a horizon of 0-12 months. My job is to make them look at 12-60 months as well and tell us what they expect from us and the trends and perceptions,’ says Simon, who with 24 years of industry experience in retailing, wine making, judging and writing, enjoys this assignment. ‘I am privileged that I have had a well-rounded experience that helps me handle my current assignment effectively.’

Click For Large ViewPenfolds is the best-know brand of Australia, claims Simon. It is also known for labeling its wines by BIN numbers which have no relevance to the price or quality and are generally at random. Grange is actually a Bin 95. But it hasn’t always been like that. It was Bin 1 in 1951 but became Bin 4 in 1952 and 95 in 1964 with no change since. For the technically inclined, Bin stands for Batch Identification Number. The other premium labels with similar pricing are Bin 389 and Bin 407 (imported into India by Mohan Bros.) and Bin 150. The lesser range is Bin 128 that we had for dinner and it was quite a delicious wine. Bin 28, Bin 2, Bin 8 and Bin 9 are the entry level wines. There is also a Bin 707!! ‘And no, there is no Bin 007- so far,’ says Simon in a lighter vein.

Simon and Jodi were on a rather extended tour this time, for over a week. They covered Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi where they met several trade people and also had a few wine dinners-obviously not with Penfolds Bin 95!

Subhash Arora

Tags: Simon Cant, Penfolds, Treasury Wine Estate (TWE), Yodissen Mootoosamy, Penfolds Grange, Mohan Bros, Australia


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