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Bordeaux first growths in demand for Chinese New Year, Far East tipped for en primeur surge

Demand in Asia for first growth Bordeaux is soaring in the run-up to the Chinese New Year – amid signs that China will become a serious buyer of en primeur in 2010.

Gary Boom, managing director of fine wine trader Bordeaux Index, said the company was currently receiving orders from Asia worth up to £500,000 a day because of the celebrations on 14 February, when the Year of the Tiger begins.

That included a single order for Château Lafite worth £200,000 last week, he told decanter.com.

‘It really is the first growths they’re after. Giving these top wines as a gift has become a big thing over the last two years, and this is now our busiest time of year outside en primeur.’

Don St Pierre Jr, CEO of ASC Fine Wines in China, said the trend was not confined to first growth Bordeaux, but there was a jump in sales for ‘just about all’ the company’s wines.

‘We expect to see a big increase in buying from both private clients and restaurants,’ he added.

‘Normally Chinese New Year and Autumn Festival are the biggest sales times of the year for us – bigger than December/Christmas and the Western New Year.’

The surge in interest in Bordeaux suggests that China might become a serious player in the en primeur market during 2010, Boom added.

‘This could be the first great en primeur campaign for the Far East,’ he said. ‘They’ve never bought sizeable quantities, but I think they’re ready for this one.’

St Pierre said there had already been ‘a big jump’ in demand for 2008 en primeur.

‘If the 2009 prices are not beyond reason, then we should continue to see growing awareness and interest,’ he said.

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Written by Richard Woodard

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