En Primeur Or Futures
Agreat way to buy wine.
Many people ask me what “En Primeur” is and why there is so much attention paid to it. It’s a good question because essentially it is about buying wine that you cannot drink. If that sounds vaguely daft well the upside is that you generally buy it at a substantial discount and if you are either a drinker or an investor that has to make sense.
Essentially En Primeur is when vineyards make available their wines at least 12 months before they are going to be bottled. To give an example in May 2019 the “En Primeur” season put on show the wines that were harvested in September 2018. As I write this in May 2020 we are just preparing to bottle this harvest. At the same time the En Primeur season season is just about to showcase the 2019 harvest and so on.
The time lapse between harvest and En Primeur gives the wine enough time to mature so that it will give a reasonable idea as to how it will turn out after another 12 or 18 months in barrels before it is bottled. Once it is bottled people who have ordered En Primeur will be contacted either to collect their wine or to put it into storage until they either wish to drink it or sell it on. The rest of the wine will be put on sale to the open market.
As I said there is generally a substantial discount when buying En Primeur. However, this being France, and this being the wine trade in France, nothing is quite so simple. There is no set formula for setting En Primeur prices. Essentially each chateau decides how much they want to sell En Primeur and sets their prices accordingly. Many of the top chateaux know that they could sell all their wine En Primeur if they wanted to. Clearly however that is giving margin away as they also know that they can sell all their stock at full market price as well. Most chateau will play a game and wait for the big names like Lafite and Margaux to set the benchmark and then price accordingly.
The problem is that for most of us mere mortals we have no guarantee of selling all our wines either En Primeur or on the open market. The net result is that whilst there are bargains to be had, it is a minefield that needs careful navigation to avoid taking a nasty hit in the pocket.
Bordeauwine.fr has outstanding access to the chateaux around Bordeaux, we taste the wines even before they are offered En Primeur. We hear the gossip and we talk to the winemakers (not just the chateaux owners….). As a result we know what offers good value and what does not. In addition we get En Primeur offers before they are made to the general public. There is never any guarantee with En Primeur but using Bordeauxwine.fr will give you the best chance of bagging a great deal.
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