Sales of higher-priced presige cuvee Champagnes helped Moet Hennessy to buck an overall decline in the sector in 2013, but the company's results were mixed.
Dom Perignon by Jeff Koons, 2003 vintage rose.
Moet Hennessy‘s overall net sales for wine and Champagne still slipped by 1% in 2013 versus 2012, to €1.95bn (US$2.63bn).
The LVMH-owned wine and spirits group, owner of Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon and Krug Champagne labels, said it was damaged by foreign currency swings, as well as sluggish demand in Europe.
But, LVMH’s billionaire owner, Bernard Arnault, declared himself pleased with Moet Hennessy’s performance. ‘There was strong demand for prestige cuvees in Champagne,’ he said.
Overall Champagne sales by volume rose by 1% for the group in 2013, to 57.4m bottles, bucking a 1.5% drop in global volume sales for the entire Champagne sector.
And, Moet Hennessy’s profits from recurring operations in wine and Champagne rose by 3% for the year, to EUR597m.
Arnault cited the launch of vintage Dom Perignon housed in Jeff Koons‘ Balloon Venus sculpture as a highlight of the past year. Bottle prices vary, from £340 for 75cl for the 2003 vintage rose at London’s Harrods and £250 at Hedonism, to around £213 at New York’s Sherry-Lehmann and Sotheby’s retail.
‘I’m sure in a few years time the Jeff Koons sculpture that contains a Dom Perignon bottle will be in a museum and will have appreciated considerably,’ Arnault said.
Looking further ahead, the firm said it continues to build a presence for Champagne in China off a small base.
It will likely also be buoyed by news this week that several merchants in the UK have sold out of the newly-launched Krug 2003 vintage within hours of release.
Written by Chris Mercer