Why Bordeaux Primeurs aren’t appealing for collectors any longer?

by Marta Burgués

The sale of wine “en primeur” is something that first class wineries have done in Bordeaux, as well as in Rhone, Burgundy and Port, among others, as a way of funding themselves and provide the consumer with quality wine at attractive prices.

This practice, which also has spread to other wine regions in recent years, consists of selling a vintage while still in barrel, offering to the customers an investment prior to bottling, being made the payment even a year and a half before the official sale.

Thus, they generate a futures exchange market similar to the stock exchange, since wines offered this way are, in theory, likely to rise their prices, as happens with other products or financial securities.

However, this practice, according to an interview to the critic Robert Parker with the specialized website The Drinks Business, is in decline, at least as regards the Bordeaux region, and this, according to the famous wine guru, “because Bordeaux has destroyed its futures market by overvaluing poor vintages”.

Parker has just announced his decision to stop scoring Bordeaux wines “en primeur” and justifies this decision also ensuring that the region should take responsibility for its wrong price policy, which has caused this way of buying wine to be no longer competitive and interesting for consumers.

When the marketing of wines “en primeur” started, the Bordeaux wineries offered prices that justified the fact of receiving the wines a year or two later, but after a few years, says Parker, “then they started raising the prices, so you’d just paying about the same or even more in some cases, as when the bottled wines came out”.

Thus, Parker says that “Bordeaux has destroyed its own ‘en primeur’ wine market; has lost market share in consumer and in restaurants, and the interest in buying Bordeaux this would only be revived if prices dropped by 20-30%”.

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