<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/000001403-What_is_en_primeur.jpg"><h2>What is en primeur.jpg<\/h2>En primeur is a French wine trade term for wine which is sold as a 'future', ie before it is bottled.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/0000013ff-How_does_the_system_work.jpg"><h2>How does the system work.jpg<\/h2>Every spring the great cru classe properties of Bordeaux produce barrel samples from the previous year's harvest. These are then tasted and assessed by members of the international wine trade in Bordeaux at tastings that are known as the Bordeaux En Primeur or Bordeaux barrel tastings. <br><br>The chateaux then release for sale a 'tranche' or proportion of their total production at an opening price. This is sold in strict allocation to wine brokers in Bordeaux, known as negociants. The negociants then sell the wine on to merchants around the world. Wine merchants sell the wine to their customers, whether private or trade.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/0000013fd-Why_does_it_work_like_this.jpg"><h2>Why does it work like this<\/h2>Mainly because it always has. Moreover, by selling to negociants, the chateaux effectively spread the risk of bad vintages, which they might otherwise be unable to sell. En primeur sales also provide the chateaux with a ready source of cash, which they would otherwise not recoup until the wine was bottled and sold.<br><br>As the system stands, the negociants are more or less obliged to buy whatever the chateaux sell. If the negociants don't buy what they are offered (in a bad year), they risk forfeiting their allocation for next year (which may be a great year). However, the system only works effectively in periods where strong world demand for the great wines of Bordeaux outstrips supply, as is currently the case.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/00000141b-Is_only_cru_classe_Bordeaux_sold_en_primeur.jpg"><h2>Is only cru classe Bordeaux sold en primeur.jpg<\/h2>No. Winemakers whose wines are not classified growths, but whose quality\r\n and price justifies a futures allocation, also offer wines in this way.\r\n In some cases this is the only way to obtain limited-production wines \r\non release.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/000001401-How_easy_is_it_to_get_what_you_want.jpg"><h2>How easy is it to get what you want.jpg<\/h2>It depends on what you want to buy. Because demand is so strong for the \r\nmost sought-after wines, it helps if you are a long-standing customer of\r\n a wine merchant that is offering wines en primeur. If you're not you \r\nmay have to go to the back of what could be a very long queue. <br><br>However, \r\nyou will have less of a problem with those wines which are more \r\navailable and less expensive. In order to get some great wines, \r\ncustomers may have to take lesser wines, too, as part of their order.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/00000140a-Should_I_contact_more_than_one_merchant.jpg"><h2>Should I contact more than one merchant.jpg<\/h2>Yes. You should always shop around for the wines that you are interested\r\n in. So get as many merchants' offers as you can and compare prices \u00e2\u0080\u0093 \r\nthey do vary.<br><br>Also, find out as much information as you can about \r\nparticular wines and regions. Don't just read the merchants' reviews of \r\nthe vintage, read several vintage reports written by respected \r\njournalists from specialist magazines and newspapers.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/0000013fe-How_do_I_find_a_merchant.jpg"><h2>How do I find a merchant.jpg<\/h2>Only deal with recommended, reputable specialist merchants who have a \r\ngood en primeur track record. In the past, merchants have gone bust and \r\ncustomers have lost significant amounts of wine, which they had bought, \r\nbut which the merchant had not paid for. <br><br>Therefore, be wary of prices \r\nthat are surprisingly low, merchants whom no one has ever heard of, and \r\nanyone who only operates through a PO Box. If you have any doubts or \r\nsuspicions, go elsewhere and buy from someone you can confidently trust.\r\n See this section for a list of reputable merchants.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/000001404-what_should_I_ask_my_merchant.jpg"><h2>what should I ask my merchant.jpg<\/h2><p style="font-style: italic;">You should therefore ask your merchant the following questions:<\/p><p>1. Are all cases of customers' reserves, whether duty paid or in bond, identified with customers' names or code numbers?<br>2. Can reserves be inspected by the customer?<br>3. Are individual stock certificates supplied annually?<br>4. Are customers' reserves insured on customers' behalf, at least to the value of the original purchase price?<br>5. Are wines only removed from reserves on receipt of written instructions from customers?<br>6. Is the value and\/or existence of stock qualified by the auditors in the merchants' auditors accounts?<\/p><p>Only\n if the merchant can answer '<span style="font-weight: bold;">yes<\/span>' to all these questions should you \nconsider buying from them. Good, reputable merchants will offer all \nthese guarantees.<\/p><img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/0000013f9-Are_there_any_hidden_costs.jpg"><h2>Are there any hidden costs.jpg<\/h2>Read the small print and work out what the final purchase cost will be \nas there are significant add-on costs. For instance, if you are buying \nstraight from the producer (\u00e2\u0080\u0098ex-cellar\u00e2\u0080\u0099), you will have to pay VAT (in \nthe UK), duty, transport and insurance. An in-bond price means you won't\n have to pay VAT, but the other charges must be paid for before you can \ntake delivery. <br><br>You should also take into account the annual storage \ncosts if you plan to keep your wine in professional or merchants' \ncellars. Similarly, you may want to keep the wines in bond while they \nmature. This can be a good option if you want to re-export them. \nHowever, make sure that the wines are properly identified.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/0000013fb-How_can_I_sell_the_wine_if_I_want_to.jpg"><h2>How can I sell the wine if I want to.jpg<\/h2>If you plan to sell the wine on for profit, there are other costs to \r\nconsider. If you sell to an auction house, you will have to pay a \r\nseller's premium. Remember also that consumers buy at retail and sell at\r\n wholesale prices. The difference when selling to an auctioneer or \r\nbroker can amount to as much as 25%.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/0000013f8-How_can_I_guarantee_the_quality_of_the_wine_I_buy.jpg"><h2>How can I guarantee the quality of the wine I buy.jpg<\/h2>Bear in mind that all wines you buy en primeur are still in barrel. You are therefore taking a punt on the ability of various wine professionals to assess the quality of these unfinished wines. Things can turn out differently once they are in the bottle, and many a merchant and critic has made a mistake in predicting the quality of a particular wine.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/000001400-How_long_is_it_before_I_see_the_wine_I_have_bought.jpg"><h2>How long is it before I see the wine I have bought.jpg<\/h2>The wine normally stays in the Chateaux for two years after the harvest. The 2003 Bordeaux vintage was released in September 2005.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2011\/03\/000001402-What_do_I_do_when_the_wine_is_released_by_the_chateau.jpg"><h2>What do I do when the wine is released by the chateau.jpg<\/h2>Once your wine has arrived, visit the merchant to make sure it is exactly as you ordered. You should also check that the wine is correctly labelled with your name or code and is stored separately from the merchant's stock. Some merchants will store your wine for you at an annual cost \u00e2\u0080\u0093 or they can recommend a professional storage organisation.