How Drake Is Changing the Champagne Game With His Mod Sélection Bubbly Brand

“Champagne Papi” started from the bottom now he’s here.

Getty Images/Rich Fury

When he trots out his “Champagne Papi” alter ego, you can never be 100% sure if Drake
is joking or not. But there’s nothing to laugh
at about the superstar rapper’s latest business endeavor,
a luxury champagne brand called Mod Sélection. 

At first sip at least this seems to be
no mere celebrity vanity project but a viable
addition to the venerable sparkling wine’s
ranks. Drake’s partner in the venture, Brent
Hocking, seems to know his business having successfully launched DeLeón Tequila
in 2009, which was sold to Diageo in 2013.

Mod Selection

And the champagne itself didn’t suddenly appear out of thin air; Drake and
Hocking are essentially re-imagining and
exporting a mellow cuvée that had previously only been distributed to the “industry
elite” in France, produced at a family-run
winery located in the Vallée de la Marne that
dates back to 1892.

“They had an exquisite product that the
world wasn’t aware of,” Hocking told The
Hollywood Reporter, “and I knew we could
develop the most beautiful, high-quality
champagne together.” 

The name invites
comparisons with Dom Pérignon, while
the intricate packaging, in chocolate earth
tones with a gold and rose floral-etched pattern and snakeskin foil capsule—the company claims no two bottles will be exactly
alike—calls to mind Jay-Z’s Armand de Brignac bubbly.

Sélection carries a similar price
point to the latter with Mod Sélection Réserve (a brut) and Mod
Sélection Rosé clocking in at
$300 and $400 per bottle respectively.

As with any celebrity-endorsed product, it’s tempting to
dismiss Drake’s involvement as a
mere marketing ploy. However
Hocking says that’s not the case.

“What drew me to Drake was
that he clearly was interested in
how I was making it, how I was
designing it,” Hocking told The
Hollywood Reporter.

“He didn’t
want to be just a bystander, someone who thinks all he has to do
are some social-media posts. He
wanted to come to blind tastings
with me, he wanted to be intimately involved in every aspect.”

As for the wine itself, Hocking says they
selected it for its “exceptional dedication to
purity, balance, and finesse,” and are attempting to position it as “the purest expression of balance and terroir produced in
Champagne today,” quite a claim considering how many bubblies, many of them much
older and widely celebrated, are in existence.

The company further claims that its
“Pinot Meunier-dominant cuvées are produced using meticulous settling, natural
clarification, and rigorous fermentation
controls,” while the Mod Sélection Rosé is
“one of few champagnes produced via the
rare saignée method” and many of the wine-making processes, from cultivation to vinification and bottling, are carried out with
minimal intervention and “exacting precision to preserve the fresh, bright and balanced house style.” 

The end result is billed
as a balance between “time-honored tradition and elegant modernity,” plus “impeccable taste.”

The final touch is a suede-lined, snakeskin gift box that, like the bottle itself, we
imagine many revelers will want to keep on

“We wanted to create something
you would want to hang onto after the
fact,” Hocking says “another detail that
went into creating a champagne… that felt
truly special.”