Mumbai will soon have its first standalone champagne lounge in newly launched “F Lounge.Diner.Bar” at Lower Parel’s One, Indiabulls Centre. “The Champagne Lounge” will be conveniently located on the first level, will accommodate 30 guests from 7.30 pm to 1 am daily. The champagne list will consist only of and Dom Pérignon and Moët & Chandon champagnes. The Champagne Lounge was designed exclusively by Moët & Chandon, they also have similar lounges in Madrid, Hong Kong and Macau.
Gaurav Bhatia, marketing director of Moët Hennessy India comments: “There can never be enough places to share the magic of champagne. Being forerunners in the business and having created the category in India, we believe in offering sublime experiences. The Champagne Lounge at F Lounge. Diner.Bar will redefine night life in the city.”
Mumbai’s existing champagne lounges include The Champage Lounge at the Oberoi, Nariman Point, Flute at Sahara Star, Vile Parle, and Six Degrees at the Leela, Sahar.
Does the average champagne drinker (in Mumbai) have the buying power for these venues ? Bhatia retorts, “The consumer in Mumbai is akin to the one in New York, Paris, Berlin, London and Tokyo. He is looking for tactile experiences that transcend the norm. We believe Mumbai has a highly sophisticated, well-travelled consumer who is ready for these experiences. Even the prices of tables at the lounge will be shared only on request.”
Champagne exports 2011 reached their second highest volume in five years – with sales close to the peak of 2007. Exports in 2011 were up by 5.1%, rising to a total of 141.2m bottles, the second largest volume ever achieved behind 2007 and only 9.5m bottles less than this peak, according to the latest statistics just released by Champagne’s governing body CIVC.
However because of a slight downturn in domestic sales in France, where the market weakened towards the end of the year, total sales figures rose by just over 1%, to 322.97m bottles.
The best performers in emerging markets were Russia (up 24.5%), China (up 19.4%), and Hong Kong (up 15.1%) – the rate of growth slowed in the second half of 2011; these three markets between them account for 4.1m bottles.
Top performer in emerging markets was India at 58.7% – total shipments to this market reached 290,286 bottles.
Shipments to Belgium and Germany both rose by 8.5% – the best results achieved within Europe.
Shipments to the USA recovered well, rising by 14.4% to 19.4m bottles – still short of the historic peak of 23.2m bottles in 2006.
Shipments to Australia rose to 4.86m bottles.
Michel Letter, head of G.H. Mumm and Perrier-Jouët, said, ‘2011 was the third best year ever after 1999 and 2007 with total shipments reaching 323m bottles, not bad considering the worldwide economic situation.’
Daniel Lalonde, Chief Executive of LVMH is in India for the first time. Being interviewed at the top floor of Delhi’s recently opened Leela Palace Hotel, he states: “India is acquiring a taste for Champagne. Not only is it the 27th largest consumer of Champagne in the world,” he says. “But I believe that in the next few years India can easily reach the top 10.”
India is doing its bit. A few kilometers south, at the F Bar nightclub, where Lalonde’s company has established a Dom Perignon lounge to promote its luxury Champagne. Indians flush with money frequently a few times a week and spend upwards of Rs35,000 a bottle on bubbly.