Shobhaa De joins 39 other women from across the globe as a Veuve Clicquot woman this year. The champagne brand, which is celebrating the 40th year of its Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman Award this year, has paid tribute to 'courageous, audacious, creative' women like De who share the same spirit of enterprise as the brand's founder Madame Clicquot, says Alexandra Lovato, Veuve Clicquot's business development director.
So of course, when a top champagne house chooses to pay tribute to you, it will do so in great style. You will be invited to its seat in France (in this case, the Reims region); you will have a vine named after you, which will then go on to produce one of the House's prestige cuvees (Veuve Clicquot's Grande Dame wine. This year's winners got a case of the 2004 vintage) and you will also be invited to a lavish party and be feted before your peers.
Mahesh & Haseena Jethmalani, Neerja & Kumarmangalam Birla at the awards dinner
Shobhaa De, along with women like British accessories designer Anya Hindmarch, was presented at Veuve Clicquot's Annual International Business Woman Forum in Reims earlier this month; and then the champagne house threw her a tribute party that kicked of with cocktails at the Starboard at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai last weekend.
"When we identify a very strong, inspiring woman, we give her the Verve Clicquot tribute. And Shobhaa De is like that. She's innovative in the way she us writing and she's been," Lovato adds.
Women of Substance
In the past, women like Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, The Body Shop's Anita Roddick and Linda Bennett, founder of Kate Middleton's favourite shoe brand LK Bennett, have scooped up the Veuve Cliquot Businesswoman Award.
"To celebrate our 200th anniversary, we decided to create the Grande Dame wine, which is a prestige cuvee of Veuve Clicquot, and at the same time create a tribute to honour all the women who have the same kind of spirit of entrepreneurship, audacity and respect for people as Madame Cliquot did. This is a big year for us - so for our 40th anniversary we decided to pay tribute to 40 women to be honoured as Veuve Clicquot friends," says Lovato.
Now though, the brand is recognizing women who play an important role in the cultural sphere. Japanese artists, Australian philanthropists and writers like Shobhaa De "inspire a new generation of businesswomen. Last week I was with two winners in Australia; one of them used to run a communication agency… she [now] works to redistribute food from high end restaurants to poor people. She helps people, she's inspiring and doing it cleverly. So that is the profile we now highlight," explains Lovato.
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