The new boss of Moët Hennessy Wine & Estates is set on building the company’s portfolio of ‘everyday’ wines as well as expanding the business globally.
Jean Guillaume Prats, who took over as president directeur general from Xavier Ybargüengoitia in February, told The Grocer that everyday wines would be a focus, while the company would also build its range of fine wines for “open-minded collectors”.
“We have an exceptional collection of vineyards, brands and wines for everyday drinking,” he said, “and we want to reinforce that category to ensure the consumer has quality, style and consistency.”
He said his predecessor had done a fantastic job in building the Wine & Estates division, and that it would be a “privilege” to take the portfolio forward. Prats’ vision was to build Moët Hennessy into a global division, capitalising on what he described as its entrepreneurial and forward-thinking spirit. The company is to open its first winery in China this month, and is due to open a sparkling wine venture in India in 2014. Another winery in southern China, in Yunnan province near Tibet, would produce a red wine targeted at the high-end domestic Chinese market.
“We think it has the potential to be the best place in Tibet for top-quality red wine,” Prats told The Grocer. “And if we produce exceptional wine in China, I see no reason not to export it. It will be mainly China and Hong Kong at the start, but why not Europe and the USA?”
Prats is also looking at expanding the company into new regions - although there were no concrete projects at the moment. “It would make sense for us to be in Italy, as it would fit into the portfolio, as well as in other vineyards in parts of France. South Africa would also make sense, as it is an area that has risen in the last year,” he said.
“We are in the tradition of forward-thinking, taking risks and exploring,”
The business is targeting the collector’s market with the launch of Te Wahi, a New Zealand pinot noir under the Cloudy Bay label that will be sold exclusively at Jeroboams (rsp: £50). The new varietal comes from vineyards in Central Otago in New Zealand, the first time the Cloudy Bay brand has moved beyond its Marlborough heartland. Only 50 case of the inaugural vintage are available to the UK.