Champagne now 'made in India'
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The world's biggest champagne house, Moet Hennessy, has launched its first "made in India" sparkling wine as it seeks to capture a young, urban and increasingly sophisticated market of drinkers on the subcontinent.

The French champagne producer has invested in a new winery in Dindori near western Maharashtra state's Nashik region, regarded as India's wine-making heart.

Moet, owned by French luxury goods group LVMH, launched its Chandon India NV (non-vintage) Brut last month, saying it aimed to "build the sparkling wine culture" in the country.

"Chandon will be targeted at 25-to-35-year-old urban men and women who are interested in embracing an international lifestyle while taking pride in all that's Indian," said Jean-Guillaume Prats, president of Moet Hennessy Estates and Wines.

The Chandon range will be the first offering from the new Indian Moet Hennessy estate, which must convince whiskey-loving high-end Indian consumers to switch from the grain to the grape.

Prats told AFP that as a foreign company, Indian law prohibits the firm from owning its vineyards "so we source grapes from Nashik farmers".

Nashik, around a four-hour drive northeast of Mumbai, has dozens of wineries and is known as the "Napa Valley of India" in reference to the Californian region famous for its vineyards.

Moet, which has also produced a Chandon Brut Rose made from Shiraz and pinot noir for the Indian market, selected="true"="true" an area 565 metres above sea level just north of Nashik which boasts lower temperatures and less precipitation than on the coast in order to obtain a high quality grape and produce a crisp and dry brut.

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