You heard a lot but never understood the concept of French En primeurs wines !? Hey wine lover, this article is for you.

You must have heard of en primeur wine before, without really knowing what it meant. The definition of a “en primeur” wine has several meanings, depending on the region in which you are located. For example, the first wine (vin primeur) in Beaujolais is a wine intended to be drunk fairly quickly, starting in November. It is the Beaujolais Nouveau that is tasted worldwide every third Thursday of November.

A specificity of Bordeaux

In Bordeaux, a completely different definition prevails. Here, it is necessary to understand “vins achetés en primeur” (buying future wines). These are unfinished wines, which are tasted in preview. By unfinished, we mean that these are wines that are still under development and have not yet finished their aging in barrels. The taster must therefore show a certain imagination to imagine the wine that will be bottled about two years later. An exercise reserved for professionals even if a few knowledgeable amateurs embark on the adventure every year !

The principle of en primeur wines is a practice that has existed in Bordeaux for two centuries and allows by this first impression of the vintage to set the price of the wine. It is for the traders that it turns out, on the place of Bordeaux, it should be known that this marketing system is specific to this region. Some Bourgogne and Rhône producers also present their wines during en primeur tasting. It is the merchants who are in charge of selling the wines of the Grands Crus of the Bordeaux vineyards, as the Châteaux takes care only of producing it.

In Bordeaux this represents 5% to 10% of the wines, presented in en primeurs . For an individual, buying one’s wine in advance, before it is finished is a good opportunity. This allows one to make nice savings on the final purchase. Prices are indeed less compared to the final purchase of finished wines and good deals are common. For the winemaker also it is a bargain because the sale in first offers him cash receipts before finishing the realization of his wine. It will take about 24 months for the wine to be totally ready, the time of aging in barrels to possess the precious bottles of your favorite nectar.

Place de Bordeaux

It is a marketplace that buys and sells Châteaux wines not just from Bordeaux to the rest of the world but also from Châteaux to merchants, between merchants within Bordeaux. This role held by Place de Bordeaux of being an internal marketplace is key to a long-term functioning of the system. This system was developed in Bordeaux due to the facility of port being there. Bordeaux is the only major city placed just next to the Atlantic ocean where two major rivers, Garonne and Dordogne meet. This attracts numerous opportunities of trade and business and hence Place de Bordeaux thrived for more than 200 years in Bordeaux.

Around 75% of Bordeaux wines is sold through the three-tier system of Place de Bordeaux where Châteaux produce the wines and appoint courtiers (brokers) who understand the strategy of the châteaux and the négociants (merchants). Courtiers take into account the demand and needs of both the parties and formulate a plan to meet the requirements of both of them. Subsequently, the négociants take the Bordeaux wines out to the world. Where courtiers are the eyes and ears within Bordeaux itself, négociants look outwards building relationships with traders and sellers globally.

En primeur tasting

Every year in April, journalists and buyers taste most recent vintage where châteaux set their prices accordingly, releasing the wines around 12 to 18 months before the bottles become physically available. Mind you, only top châteaux which are around 250 in numbers hold this tasting. For the rest of the year, the Place de Bordeaux sells livrables (bottled wines).

During En primeur tastings, courtiers play an important role of being an advisor, letting the châteaux owner have an idea of fixing the prices and later advising them on which négociants deserve the best allocations. All these different steps and precisions lead to a number of issues like competition amongst négociants to sell to the end consumers causing a confusion of price in the market, lack of transparency etc. All that said, the Place de Bordeaux system and En primeur wine selling continues to define the pride and prestige of Bordeaux in front of the world.

Buy En primeur with Wine Palette

Interested to grab the best Bordeaux wines at an affordable price, then the wait is over now ! Click on the link below to notify us about your interest and we will get back to you with all the information about En primeur wines. Hurry up, the allocations have already started for 2020 vintage !


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