What is the en primeur trade system?

En primeur is a method of purchasing wine early, while it is still in the barrel.

Originally, en primeur trade was initiated in 18th century. Bordeaux wine merchants went into the castles a few months before the harvest to estimate and buy the crop. The modern system, as we know it today and which includes the famous week of tasting was set up in the 70s.

En primeur wines made possible for the winemakers to cash in the income of the vintage before starting the new one and for the customer the opportunity to invest before the wine is bottled.

Payment is made at an early stage of the year or 18 months prior to the official release of a vintage.

Who’s involved?

Historically, only the Grands Crus Classés participated in primeur trades, but nowadays, it is most of the high quality domain, Classé or not,

The benefits of buying en primeur 

– Be sure to get the lowest price of the market: the reputation of Grands Crus causes an increased price while demand exceeds supply.

– Anticipate the scarcity: the production of the castles is limited to what the nature has kindly given, some products are often rare, and buying them en primeur is the guarantee that you will have the wanted wine.

The wine trade :

To taste the en primeur wines, the properties of Bordeaux produce samples from young barrel from the previous year’s harvest. Samples are then tasted at the wine trade in Bordeaux. The Castles release for sale some of their production at an opening price.

After a weeklong trade, the press and the great tasters write their report and grade the wines. It’s after this phase that the castles put their wines on the market.

The wines are only sold to merchants from La Place de Bordeaux then they sell them to importers all over the world.