Bordeaux chateaux are coming up with radical schemes for kick-starting next week’s en primeur campaign – including giving hefty discounts on the 2007 vintage.
Negociants, merchants and the chateaux themselves still have cellars full of the highly-priced and slow-selling 2006 and 2007 vintages – and they have no idea how 2008 is going to sell.
Guillaume Halley, director of Château La Dauphine and owner of an upmarket supermarket in Bordeaux, said in a press release this week: ‘Despite a very good level of quality for the 2008 vintage, the market is simply not prepared to buy en primeur in the same way this year.’
While Philippe Tapie of HMS Negociants told decanter.com: ‘The Place (the Bordeaux marketplace) has to return to its fundamentals and target the wine lover, not the wine investor.’
Long before the pricing levels of the 2008 have been set, properties are coming with various ways to help lessen the impact of the 2007s.
Chateau Giscours in Margaux has already confirmed that a free bottle will be added for every case of 2007 bought. This is effectively an 8% price reduction.
Importantly this comes ‘with no strings attached on the 08s’ according to a spokesperson at the chateau.
Chateau Pape Clement said it would offer extensive help to retailers for sales and promotions of 2007s, and Alan Rayne of Magnum Fine Wines in the UK is offering 25% off his list price on all 2007s.
A number of other initiatives are being considered but are not yet decided.
Jean Guillaume Prats of Chateau Cos d’Estournel told decanter.com, ‘the world today is not thinking about speculation, it is about worrying about tomorrow morning, and each person protecting his own interests.
‘It would make sense for chateaux to release very little and to carry inventory, but we know it is very dangerous for the market to do that.’
Many people are waiting for a lead on prices from the leading chateaux of the region, Prats said.
‘More than ever in the last 15 years, the firsts growths have to lead the market. They have a great deal of pressure on their shoulders.’
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux