Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Summer of 2009...

Coincidentally, as I think of how to pen my thoughts, I remember that for some reason I had posted The Summer of 2008 last year around the same time. That time I was filled with mixed emotions of leaving a place so dear to me for four years but at the same time embarking on something I have always wanted to do.. which in a certain way was a step up in the ladder to success...

Fast Forward one year.. History repeats itself.. The Pico from IITM is still alive and kicking.. Somehow people here have caught the name, the name I am so dearly in love with. But it just does not end with the name. I had one glorious year at IIMB. Sometimes I was cynical about the place. Very much I should say in the first term.. but then I got in line with the people, with how it is outside your comfort zone.. And then I felt so much better handling it and using it to my advantage. If I look back, I have always been the player catching up.. Catching up in skills, talent and whatever many consider an art.. But for the first time, I feel the pinch.. To stay ahead.. And when today, I heard about some of my colleagues cracking it at BCG (hearty congratulations to them), I felt.. its time to stop running and take stock of whats in the plate. So, here I go with one of the longest I would have ever written.. So, pardon me for the boredom.

I arrived in Hong Kong with loads of expectations, the first time in a corporate environment, the first time in a bank and the first time outside my country. It was not difficult to settle in. I must say that for a first timer, I got out of the currency syndrome, of trying to convert everything into INR, rather quickly. Being with the favourite of all Bajaj did help.. :) Ask him about others, and you might get some strong words.. Yeah.. So back to me.. The trading floor overwhelmed me.. But the pressures of the declining industry and a bad economic slump were weighing on my shoulders. I did not know how to think. Whether this was an experience to learn or to just crack PPO. I can say the two paths might be different and the black box never reveals what is the path treading both. But at first I chose the road oft travelled. To crack it and lead a life of luxury. But somewhere down the line, I felt this is not what I would do. I have some luxuries not to be so desperate.. I can do as I want. With the time, with the floor, with the money. I am 22 yrs and barely broken out of the cocoon of the IITs and the IIMs.

The flow of random thoughts continued within my head for about 7 weeks in which I worked as I was told to, but more importantly spoke to people who matter and decide where I want to head after this. I enjoyed quite a bit of Hong Kong and only glitch was the black lining in the sky.. I lived on the 15th floor, worked on the 38th floor and travelled below the earth's surface. I seemed to have forgotten the where the ground was for a moment. The skylines beautiful and the city dazzling. Enjoyed my first salary to the core. And the icing on the cake was Macau, an artificial Venetian and the Vegas of the east.. A night of one of my other firsts gambling.. So there was much awaited experience of being abroad.. under the pressure to deliver..

But then came Anusmaran, which I think was the most eventful evening I have had here.. I played football in the rain, had good Indian food and met people whose experience was more than my age. But the best thing that could happen to me was the 2005 batch people. They were in a similar situation that I think my batch would be on the back of the bad 2004 season. But now, everyone is well settled in. And it would seem as if everything was rosy then. But the fact remains, one can reach any place he wants.. he just needs the desire to reach there. And when I heard today morning and seen my friends delighted, I was thinking, it is sure good to get a PPO and make your life simpler. But this is life and the only way to win it is to keep running.. However fast you are the tortoise will find its way slowly and steadily..

I am reminded of a dialogue from Om Shanti Om :
"itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai
ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai"

I am starting to believe in it..

Will come back with a much more jolly post sometime soon. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Moët et Chandon

Straight from wiki and straight out of pleasure of the past night!!

Moët et Chandon (pronounced [moɛt‿e ʃɑ̃ˈdɔ̃]), or Moët, is a French winery and co-owner of the luxury goods company Moët-Hennessy • Louis Vuitton. Moët et Chandon is one of the world's largest champagne producers and a prominent champagne house. The company holds a Royal Warrant to supply champagne to Queen Elizabeth II. Moët et Chandon was established in 1743 by Claude Moët, and today owns more than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of vineyards, and annually produces approximately 26,000,000 bottles of champagne.



Moët et Chandon began as Moët et Cie (Moët & Co.), established by Épernay wine trader Claude Moët in 1743, and began shipping his wine from Champagne to Paris. The reign of King Louis XV coincided with increased demand for sparkling wine. Soon after its foundation, and after son Claude-Louis joined Moët et Cie, the winery's clientele included nobles and aristocrats.

Moët began business with Madame de Pompadour in 1750. She continually supplied the Royal Court at Compiègne with Moët's champagne. Also in 1750, Moët began establishing business in Germany, Spain, Eastern Europe, and colonial British America. In 1792, on Claude Moët's death, grandson Jean-Rémy Moët assumed control of Moët et Cie, and expanded the business buying the vineyards of the Abbey of Hautvillers, where Benedictine monk Dom Perignon perfected double-fermentation for creating champagne.

Moreover, the Moët surname was prestigious before the winery's establishment; King Charles VII ennobled brothers Jean and Nicolas Moët (Claude's ancestors) in 1446.

Into the 19th century

The company truly attracted a loyal international following after it initiated an account with Napoleon. Jean-Rémy, who had become mayor of Epernay in 1802, met Napoleon in 1804. Within the new guest houses at Moët's headquarters on 20 rue de Champagne, Napoleon I and his entourage were lavishly dined and wined. Historian of champagne Patrick Forbes wrote: "everybody who was anybody in Europe was passing through the Champagne district en route from Paris to the Congress of Vienna and they all wanted to visit the celebrated champagne maker. ... His 10 years in the Napoleonic limelight had made him the most famous wine-maker in the world and orders for his champagne began pouring in with such profusion that he hardly knew how to fill them." In appreciation for Jean-Rémy's generosity, the Emperor of the French gave Jean-Rémy his, Napoleon's, Officer's cross of the Legion of Honor. In honor of Napoleon, Moët later in its history dedicated its Brut Imperial to him.

After his connections with Napoleon, the company of Moët contained a portfolio of prominent figures which encompassed Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Emperor Francis II of Austria (Napoleon's father-in-law), the Duke of Wellington, Madame de Staël, Queen Victoria, and the Prince Royal of Russia (later to become emperor of Germany) among many more. Sales durign the 1820s are believed to have been on average 20,000 bottle annually. Leadership of the company changed in 1832 when Jean-Rémy retired and left the company in the hands of his son Victor Moët and son-in-law Pierre-Gabriel Chandon de Briailles. As M.Chandon became incorporated into the company as co-owner, the name was officially changed that same year to "Moët et Chandon." Following the introduction of the concept of a vintage champagne in 1840, Moët marketed its first vintage in 1842. Their best-selling brand, Brut Imperial was introduced in the 1860s.

The Marne Valley fell under the ownership of Moët et Chandon in 1879, expanding the company's operations. The introduction of more flavorsome grapes from Cramant, Le Mesnil, Bouzy, Ay, and Verzenay also followed. As expansion grew, so did the employee count. At the time, about 2,000 people were under the employment of Moët et Chandon and a type of "social security" was formed which gave free medical attention, housing assistance, pensions, maternity benefits, sick pay, and free legal aid. Job holders included cellarmen, cork cutters, clerks, vineyard farmers, tinsmiths, needlewomen, basketmakers, firemen, packers, wheelwrights, and stableboys. Sales in 1872 are reported to have been at 2,000,000 bottles and at 2.5 million by 1880, while consumers continued to consist of the upper social hierarchy.

Milestones in the 20th century

During World War I, France suffered much destruction. Moët et Chandon lost the offices and guest houses, where Napoleon I had stayed, to bombing raids. After the war, the company re-established its position in the market by introducing the Dom Pérignon brand of vintage champagne in the late 1920s. The introduction of the Dom Pérignon label set a trend in which many other champagne houses came to introduce their own premium label of champagne intended to surpass their regular vintage champagne. Nevertheless, it was Dom Pérignon which came out to be the most successful brand. Dom Pérignon was recognized by connoisseurs as the most perfect champagne available, and was also the most expensive on the market. During World War II in which France fell under occupation of Nazi Germany, business was negatively affected. However, due to the modernization of operations within the firm, it managed to recover well. The goals of fairness and efficiency were emphasized in all aspects of production, from the installation of new wine presses to a comprehensive system of work incentives.
Headquarters in Épernay.

Count Robert-Jean de Vogüé, a prominent figure in wine purchasing, became the leader of Moët et Chandon in the 1950s. Transformed from a family-owned business into a Société Anonyme (or corporation), Moët et Chandon under de Vogüé gained great success and an expansion rate never before experienced. In 1962 it became the first champagne house to be listed on the French stock market. That same year, the company acquired full rights to France's oldest wine maison and main competitor of Moët et Chandon, Ruinart Père et Fils. Another rival wine house, Mercier, was taken over by 1970. Soon afterwards Moët et Chandon purchased an interest in Parfums Christian Dior, the first out-of-winery investment by the company, which was soon taken over by Moët. The company took a milestone step in 1971 when it merged with the cognac producer Jas Hennessy & Co. to create Moët-Hennessy. The decision was made as a result of a 1927 statute which limited the champagne growing region to 34,000 hectares. De Vogüé believed that the supply of land under cultivation (less than 25,000 hectares) would be exhausted by the demand for champagne by 2000. Thus it seemed logical to merge with Hennessy who could supply diversification and a stable future for Moët. Together, both houses grew greatly financially and were able to, as a group, "stimulate the growth of their interests abroad."

In 1973, the company launched Domaine Chandon, a winery subsidiary in California. The company undertook its final merger; with Louis Vuitton, a prominent luxury goods purveyor whose goods remain renown as status symbols. This final merger gave birth to the largest luxury group in the world, Moët-Hennessy • Louis Vuitton (LVMH), netting over 16 billion euros in fiscal 2004. In 2006, Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial issued an extremely limited bottling of its champagne named "Be Fabulous", a special release of its original bottle with decorative Swarovski crystals, marking the elegance of Moët et Chandon. Also in 2006, Moët et Chandon illuminated the Statue of Liberty on its 120th anniversary.

In 2007, the company opened its Grand Vintage 2000 European Launch at the Musée de l'homme in Paris

In 1973, the then Moët-Hennessy company founded Domaine Chandon, an outpost winery in the Napa Valley. It was the first French-owned sparkling wine venture in the United States. The fine dining restaurant etoile is situated at the winery.

Domaine Chandon in Australia was established in 1986 at Green Point, Victoria.


Moët is frequently mispronounced. Common mispronunciations include "mow-ee" and "mo-way". The correct pronunciation is "mo-wett".