Stephanie Watine Arnault

LVMH is toasting its latest U.S. e-commerce launch, the wine, spirits and entertainment site Clos19, which goes live today.

Founder and chief executive officer Stephanie Watine Arnault, niece of Bernard Arnault, describes Clos19 as “a lifestyle retail brand that is not only offering access to wines and spirits, accessories and experiences, but also writing content to give inspiration to our customers about the art of hosting.”

Through the site, U.S. buyers can purchase Moët Hennessy Champagnes, wines, spirits and accessories as well as experiential packages such as a mixologist or sommelier session at home or a trip to the wineries of the Bordeaux region. The editorial piece, called Journal19, contains entertaining tips, drink recipes and features how the fashionable set entertain at home.

MOET-&-CHANDON-GRAND-VINTAGE-1978-CHAMPAGNE

A lifestyle image from Clos19 featuring Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 1978 Champagne. 

“The whole concept is built around the art of hosting how to enhance your lifestyle by enjoying moments with your friends and family around a meal with a nice drink,” said Watine Arnault, who was in Los Angeles last month for the digital ad campaign shoot directed by Mike Mills.

“The concept of the film is all around friendship and shared moments and making it real because today, especially with social media, you always are looking for what’s next, but you have true friends and family and it’s how you enhance these moments,” she said.

One focus of the site is how to enjoy drinks home, as Watine Arnault believes home entertaining is a trend. One package on offer is called “Become the Host” and includes a bartender or sommelier who can organize a Champagne tasting or mixology workshop — wines and spirits included — at the customer’s house.

Clos19 Spirits preview

A selection of spirits at Clos19 

Watine Arnault said Clos19 is creating a new retail category around the world, one that does not compete with traditional wine and spirit shops. In fact, in the U.S., alcohol purchases made on the site are processed by an independent third party and fulfilled by licensed retailers because U.S. regulations prevent LVMH from selling alcohol directly.

“Our role is really to bring this lifestyle to life,” she said, adding that Thursday’s launch event in New York will be a dinner hosted by Derek Blasberg, Cecilia Dean and Heron Preston.

As for whether LVMH will tap into its roster of fashion designers, Watine Arnault said, “That is definitely something we are thinking about and at the moment we are approaching by the angle of the articles. For example, on the U.K. web site we have Faye McLeod, a window designer for Vuitton and Dior, on what she likes to drink. We are always looking at fashion people from the angle of fashion, but they also have a very interesting lifestyle and this is what we want people to discover, that they also have an opinion about what to drink and eat, what flowers and tableware to choose and really set the scene.”

CAPE-MENTELLE-CABERNET-SAUVIGNON

A lifestyle image from Clos19 featuring Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Watine Arnault likens spirits to the beauty industry, in that “when you buy a lipstick there are so many different things you can do with it and with wine and spirits it’s the same. You can have a glass of Champagne and it’s going to taste different depending on what glass you serve it in or what you pair it with.”

While Clos19 doesn’t liken its target audience to demographics, she describes their customer as a hedonist, meaning “a person who wants to enjoy life, who wants to spend time with friends around a good drink, and who is really interested in knowing more and making decisions by having information on how to use the products.”

As for Clos19’s growth plan, the site is already live in the U.K. and Germany and next year will launch in one country in Asia and one more country in Europe.

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