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No room for Bordeaux en primeur price rises, says report

Bordeaux’s 2023 vintage is still to be tasted by many journalists and critics, yet there has already been price speculation ahead of an en primeur releases campaign expected to begin in May. 

Further price increases are off the table,’ said Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade, citing market conditions in a new report focusing on Bordeaux en primeur. 

Debate about en primeur release prices is hardly new, and top Bordeaux can look relatively good value versus small-production fine wines from other regions.

Still, core reasons for Liv-ex’s stance included weaker sentiment among fine wine buyers, Bordeaux’s recent underperformance on the secondary market, and relatively high stock levels of good quality back-vintages.

Bordeaux’s ability to produce in high volumes wines that age elegantly means that buyers have plenty to choose from,’ said the report.  

Liv-ex’s chief commercial officer, Anthony Maxwell, told Decanter following a recent trip to Bordeaux that he expected 2023-vintage release prices would fall year-on-year to some extent – although each château has its own strategic goals and market context. 

Consultancy group Wine Lister said in its own report last week that Bordeaux’s 2022 vintage, released at record high prices in some cases, ‘has so far remained stagnant on the secondary market, despite the noise around the high quality of the vintage’.

While it is commonly considered important to compare en primeur release prices to similarly-rated back-vintages, Wine Lister’s founding members called universally for price cuts on the Bordeaux 2023 releases.

A survey of 50 leading fine wine companies found Bordeaux 2023 en primeur release prices should fall by 30% on average, versus 2022, Wine Lister said. 

Price movements after en primeur release

Liv-ex data for wines in its Bordeaux 500 index showed negative average returns, when comparing en primeur release price to current market price, on the 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022 vintages. 

It is still early days for many of these wines, but Château Pavie 2018 was among the worst performers.

Liv-ex said the wine was released en primeur by UK merchants (ex-London) at £3,504 per 12-bottle case in bond, and was currently £2,258 – a 36% discount.

Some individual wines have a reputation for rising in price following en primeur release. Liv-ex said the five top performers from the 2017 to 2021 vintages inclusive were: 

Petrus | +82% vs release on average
Château Lafleur | +67%
Château Lafite Rothschild | +22.9%
Le Pin | +20.8%
Château Beychevelle | +20.3%

Broader trends

When it comes to en primeur buying decisions, some collectors remain keen to seize the opportunity to purchase wines with pristine provenance, direct from the estate, Liv-ex’s report noted. 

It also said there were signs of long-term waning interest in Bordeaux en primeur, though. It reiterated a parallel trend for some châteaux to hold back a greater proportion of stock for release at a later date, too.

Bordeaux en primeur remains a major date in the calendar, however, reflecting the region’s ongoing status as a benchmark of fine wine.

According to the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, more than 5,000 visitors from around 50 countries will travel to Bordeaux this month to taste barrel samples of the 2023 vintage.

Matthew O’Connell, CEO of the LiveTrade online trading platform at UK merchant Bordeaux Index, recently told Decanter magazine’s Market Watch that trading on young Bordeaux wines was extremely quiet.

Coming soon: Stay tuned for Decanter’s full report on the Bordeaux 2023 vintage, including tasting notes.

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The post No room for Bordeaux en primeur price rises, says report appeared first on Decanter.

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