Bordeaux needs to cut prices by half if the 2008 en primeur campaign is to be a success, according to Berry Bros & Rudd.

Simon Staples, BBR’s fine wine director, told decanter.com that he does not plan to buy a single case for stock, because he still has leftover cases of 2006 and 2007 Bordeaux that remain unsold. He added prices will have to come down to 2002 levels.

‘I would be much happier as a stockholder to have a bargain vintage, to get everyone excited about it. No one has been excited about Bordeaux since 2005 – no one at all. The consumers are either bored of the prices, or bored of buying five or six vintages on the trot,’ he said.

‘The châteaux want to come down in price by 10%–15%, but even if it’s 30%–40% lower, we won’t buy any stock. The 2007s were much too expensive. Unless there’s a reduction to 2002 levels, I can’t see consumers being interested.’

Bordeaux negociants are looking for a similar price cut to Staples. ‘In general, negociants are asking for a return to 2002 or 2004 prices but we’ll have to wait and see,’ said Jean-Christophe Esteve of Sovinat.

Staples predicted that first growth châteaux will be courageous and drop prices, perhaps as low as the €100 mark, ‘as opposed to €250 last year’. He warned that if that does happen, ‘consumers will just buy the first growths and nothing else’.

‘Given the really rocky economic times, it will be a really good thing for Bordeaux to give us a bargain. And, believe it or not, I do have some sympathy for the châteaux, because they are trying to increase quality.’

Written by Stuart Peskett