Oenologie - Qu'est ce que la semaine des primeurs ? Les Grappes

What's New Year's Eve?

The Primeurs week in Bordeaux will take place from 3 to 7 April. Although the Primeurs system is initially reserved for wine professionals, the sale of wine en primeur tends to become more democratic and to extend to other appellations. Explanations on this particular sales system.

The Primeurs sales system: a Bordeaux speciality since 1970

The Union des Grands Crus Bordelais (UGCB) set up en primeur wine sales in 1970 in Bordeaux. It is a special sales system which consists of selling the wine "by anticipation" while it is still being matured. The bottling of this wine will only take place 2 years later. The wine is sold, but it is still in vats or barrels at the property. The buyer receives a discount on the purchase price on the finished product.

This typical Bordeaux marketing system is particular and very traditional, notably via "La Place de Bordeaux". Historically, a certain number of great Bordeaux Châteaux do not market their wines directly through distribution channels. They go through intermediaries, the négociants, who then sell the wines to private individuals.

The Primeurs week is therefore a week of intense activity on La Place de Bordeaux, where owners and merchants organise themselves around the new vintage, tasting, rating, estimating the quality and prices of the new wines.

Beyond the economic interest for wine merchants to buy cheaper wines, the primeur week highlights for several days the Bordeaux vineyard all over the world.

Democratization of the sale of en primeur wines: Let's all benefit from it!

Buying en primeur wine is no longer just a matter for professionals: take advantage of this sales system too.

If, on La Place de Bordeaux, en primeur sales are the business of professionals: owners, merchants, brokers and journalists, the system of advance sales is extending more and more to private individuals, notably thanks to online wine sales on the Internet.

Private individuals can benefit from en primeur sales for great classified growths - if not inaccessible - but also for much more affordable bottles. Futures sales are then no longer the sole business of the Bordeaux vineyard, all the appellations now practice this sales system.

Lavivnia, Millesima, Wine and Co ... the number of sites offering en primeur wines after selection by professionals is increasing, proof of the democratisation of this sales system. The estates are also getting involved and are organising the sale of their en primeur wines to private individuals themselves.

Why buy en primeur wine?

The question arises: What is the point for estates and individuals to sell or buy wine en primeur since it is not yet ready for sale?

The purchase of en primeur wine allows the consumer to make a price saving of 10 to 30% compared to the estimated price after bottling 2 years later. It is a sale "by reservation" which nevertheless contains a share of risk as to the quality of the wine once the maturing is finished or at its final price after bottling.

As for the estates, by selling their wines in advance, they benefit from a cash advance. Win-Win? Not always and provided that certain rules are respected.

Wines presented as en primeurs are necessarily wines that have a certain aptitude for laying down. The cornerstone of the en primeur sales system is therefore the promise of enhancing the value of the product. Buyers buy a bottle en primeur if they are certain that prices will rise after the bottling and that they are making a bargain.

Inaccessible bottles become affordable through this sales system: buying en primeur wine can help you build a fine cellar.

Manon Mouly (for Les Grappes)

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