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Southern Wine and Spirits denies rumours of retreat from Bordeaux

Southern Wine and Spirits, America’s leading wine distributor, has denied rumours it has stopped buying high end Bordeaux.

Reports circulating at the Vinexpo wine trade fair have suggested Southern is dramatically reducing its interest in Bordeaux.

‘Let me make it simple, it is ridiculous,’ said Melvin Dick, the company’s


‘We have large inventories we are trying to run down, but Bordeaux is a major part of our fine wine business.’

He blamed the rumours on disgruntled wine producers.

‘This is people complaining after not selling as they would like to,’ he said.

However, Dick admitted the company was currently not buying Bordeaux unless absolutely necessary – and would only buy 2008 en primeur if clients paid in advance.

‘We have heavy inventory of 2006, 2007 and a bit of 2005,’ he said. ‘These are tough times and we are being very careful.’

Dick also said this strategy is a necessary reaction to the tough economy and no different from what other companies are doing.

‘We are waiting for the tide to turn.’

He said a few clients were considering buying 2008 en primeur but so far he had no firm commitments.

Sources in Bordeaux also said another major American buyer, Diageo’s Chateau & Estate Wines, has frozen orders.

For many producers and negociants already finding it hard to shift stocks, two heavyweight buyers pulling back would be a blow.

Several producers at Vinexpo called the news ‘shocking but not surprising’, and described the American market as ‘complicated right now’.

Melvin Dick comes in fourth on the Decanter Power List, published in the July 2009 issue.

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Written by Sophie Kevany in Bordeaux

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