Millésima launches in US

Leading Bordeaux négociant Millésima is expanding into the US market, and will be ready to trade following next month’s en primeur campaign.

Millésima, which is also Europe’s largest fine wine mail order company, is taking advantage of last year’s relaxation of laws governing interstate wine shipping in the US. Last year the Supreme Court declared illegal the ‘three tier’ system of wine sales which had previously made interstate direct shipping all but impossible.

‘The US is undoubtedly the leading market for fine wines, with consumption growing annually,’ Patrick Bernard, managing director of Millésima, told decanter.com. ’Since the Supreme Court decision, 38 states have already revoked the legislation, so now it’s all systems go.’

‘Currently 95% of our direct sales are within Europe. We want to take our strategy of focusing on the internet, mail order and print advertising into one of the world’s most exciting markets.’

Millésima will open its first shop in New York in order to comply with legislation that states all retailers need an outlet in order to obtain a sales license. Roger Bohmrich, one of the first Master of Wines in North America and formerly Sales and Marketing Director for US importers Frederick Wildman, will head up the operation.

‘Bohnrich is a good friend and has an immense knowledge of the US market,’ said Bernard.

The company’s range in the US will still focus on grand cru classé Bordeaux, but will also extend into a wider range of international wines. Bernard added that Millésima USA would receive 10% of the company’s allocation of the 2005 Bordeaux vintage.

Written by Jane Anson