After three exceptionally great vintages, there seems to be a slowdown in en primeur market this year. Hit by the economic downturn, the market price of 2008 Bordeaux vintage was decreasing closely to the en primeur price. Another reason is that the wine in this year is less outstanding, so investment buyers have to pay more attention to the risk. After all, I think the wine price in this year will hardly be higher than the previous two years.
What if there were no en primeur? At the very beginning, selling en primeur was to give improved cash flow for the wineries and reduce their financial burden as it usually takes more than two years to release the wines on the market. Nowadays the big estates are sufficiently funded, selling en primeur is only considered as a tradition, and a specific regional business or marketing strategy. Recently Château Latour announced that they might not be selling any en primeur next year, which resulted in lots of voices from other wineries and the industry. What will Bordeaux en primeur be like in the future?
To consumers, buying en primeur let them purchase good vintages at a considerably cheaper price, but it only makes sense when the supply is low and the price has potential to rise. Looking back to the first decade of the 21st century, there have been more exceptional and great vintages than ever! That is possibly due to the weather or advanced technologies. We are unlikely to have inferior vintages like 1992 or 1984, so what does this mean? With a massive supply of quality Bordeaux wines on the market, will the wine price be soaring? Unless every winery is as successful as Château Lafite, I suppose.
(From May 2012 issue of Cru Magazine, 刊登於《釀．生活》2012年5月號 )