Jean-Guillaume Prats, the managing director of Bordeaux Second Growth Chateau Cos d’Estournel, has called for radical changes to the en primeur system.
Prats said the en primeur tastings, held for journalists and wine trade professionals, should occur at their usual time in Spring, but that chateaux should release their prices in September.
‘Its up to the First Growths to lead the change,’ he told French regional newspaper Sud Ouest.
Prats said that the current economic climate was ‘too bad’ for people to be interested in buying the wines. He said if the campaign of releasing wines and prices began in Spring, ‘we would hit a wall’.
Prats’ proposal has the backing of fellow producers.
‘It might be quite a judicious move,’ said Dominique Befve, general director of Margaux Second Growth Chateau Lascombes. ‘It might be a little early to talk of this, we will have to see how the market goes.’
Befve added that the chateaux ‘must adapt to the distributors and customers’.
The sentiment was echoed by Simon Staples of London wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd.
‘Anything to suspend it [en primeur] would be good,’ he said.
Staples, however, said the tastings should also occur later in the year.
‘It’s an instantaneous phenomenon, it generates interest,’ he said. ‘What’s the point of tasting it in April if it’s going to be sold in October?’
The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux which organises the majority of en primeur tastings in Spring confirmed they would be held as usual this year.
Written by Oliver Styles