Wine merchants are gearing up for a 'difficult' en primeur campaign with some saying they won't be able to sell anything unless prices are reduced by at least 40%.
The first growths are reported to be releasing at around $60 a bottle, as reported on decanter.com yesterday, but merchants are saying that is still too high.
London-based Farr Vintners are about to publish their estimates of prices this year. The firm’s Stephen Browett told decanter.com he was confident they would have an en primeur campaign this year, but ‘the serious chateaux need to come out at seriously reduced prices.’
Patrick Bernard, MD of Bordeaux-based merchants Millesima, said €60 was too expensive. ‘All the first growths must be under €50, and all the super seconds (Cos d’Estournel, Ducru-Beaucaillou and other top second growths) need to be less than €20.’
Bernard said he had turned down St Emilion’s Quinault L’Enclos, which negociants are offering at €29 compared to €42 last year, a drop of 44.8%, and ‘cult’ wine Sanctus at €14.75. ‘At that price I can’t sell them. They are too expensive,’ he said.
Hugo Rose of UK merchants Lay & Wheeler said they would be pleased if the first growths released at €50. He said his customers will have to be ‘highly motivated’ by good prices to buy 2002.
Browett agreed. Despite the fact that Decanter, Wine Spectator, Jancis Robinson and other key commentators had given top marks to most of the first growths and many other of the most important wines, with the problematical economy, and the war, there was still little motivation for people to buy.
‘We have not had a lot of enquiries. The only point in people buying is if the wines are cheap.’
Whether merchants will get their longed-for low prices or not is a moot point. ‘Bordeaux appears to be listening to us,’ Rose said. ‘But sympathy does not always equal delivery.’
Written by Adam Lechmere