The Alliance de Cru Bourgeois has voted for a two-tier system that will see its members’ wines split into Cru Bourgeois and Cru Bourgeois Supérieur.
75 per cent of the 276 members voted in a secret ballot for the change at an AGM held on September 18.
It will mean that the current ‘Reconnaissance Cru Bourgeois’ will become a ‘Classement des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc’.
Once granted, the title will be valid for five years at a time – instead of the annual renewal process that has been in place since 2008, which has been criticised by winemakers for making sustained communication with customers difficult.
At the same time, the best wines will be separated off into a higher quality category, reminiscent of the former classification system when there were three levels of Cru Bourgeois, Supérieur and Exceptionnel.
The new system is expected to come into place in 2020 for the 2018 vintage, and future moves to reinstate all three levels have not been ruled out.
Fréderique de Lamotte, director of the Alliance, told decanter.com that the change will give ‘a fresh sense of direction and drive’ to the cru bourgeois wines.
Frédéric de Luze, president of the Alliance, commented that the aim of the changes is to ‘clarify the communication for consumers, and to allow winemakers to concentrate on developing and promoting the brands over a longer period of time’.
Although the final details are not yet finalised, it is understood that tasting will account for over 50 per cent of the marks given to decide which level a château is awarded.
At least five years of vintages will be judged and all member châteaux will be eligible for the Cru Bourgeois Supérieur level.
The 2013 Cru Bourgeois official selection, under the current system, is due out this week.