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Here's how to sculpt the perfect high.

YOU must have noticed that wines from Grover Vineyards flaunt labels painted by Jatin Das, Paresh Maity, Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Rini Dhumal and Rekha Rodwittiya. Well, it isn't exactly an original idea, for the acclaimed Bordeaux wine house, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, has been commissioning the world's leading artists to design its label every year since 1945, when it launched the tradition to celebrate the Allied victory in World War II. Last year, it hired the English artist Lucien Freud ( Sigmund's grandson) to make the label for the 2006 vintage; earlier, its roster included such formidable names as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Prince Charles ( it appears talking to plants isn't the royal's only pastime!). Mouton's choice for this year, though, has come as a surprise because the man selected for the job is a French sculptor barely known elsewhere.

Bernar Venet, the sculptor, is recognised for his curvy steel outdoor sculptures, one of which figures on the wine's 2007 label.

The sculptor may have a reason apart from the international exposure he's getting to toast his unusual assignment.

Traditionally, the artists commissioned to design the labels aren't paid in cash. Instead, they get to take home ten cases ( 120 bottles) of Mouton, which can translate into a lot of money over the years. Luckily for Venet, wine critics insist Mouton's 2007 vintage will be delicious. He can drink to that.

Just to give you an idea of how much a Mouton is worth, a bottle of its 2007 vintage -- which is still not ready to be drunk -- is selling for the pound sterling equivalent of Rs 15,451 at London's Fine & Rare Wines. Venet, in other words, is sitting on wine worth Rs 18.54 lakh -- and its price is only going to snowball. The average selling price of a bottle of the 2005 vintage is Rs 31,400. Wonder how much Grover paid its stable of artists.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 3, 2010
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