What is this all about?

by Chuck Hayward

Each spring, the chateaux in Bordeaux hold tastings of barrel samples from the previous year’s harvest. Members of the wine trade go to Bordeaux to taste and evaluate the wines. A couple of months later (generally in May), a portion of the wine is released at an opening price. The Courtiers represent chateaux owners and typically sell their wine to negociants (for about a 2% fee), who then quickly sell their futures to distributors and importers who pay the negociants before the wine is released. In turn, the wine then sells to retailers (and restaurants) and finally to the consumer, who also pay before the wine is released and take delivery about 2 years later.

Shaun will be going to these special tastings and posting his notes and impressions here for you to read. It is important to WineCommune to get a first hand knowledge and insight to each of the wines that we will be offering as futures.

Why buy En Primeur? It guarantees wine at initial price (and allows one to select the desired size formats). Many times, but not always, the prices go up with each release (tranche), as the supply diminishes and/or as demand increases.

This system encourages early buying and is generally thought to play to the interest of the chateaux owners. Nevertheless, for many, it does present the best opportunity to buy a wine at the lowest price, especially in great vintages.