“En primeur” refers to a French wine trade term used to describe wines that are futures (or wine “in the prime”). It’s the process of purchasing wine when it’s still in barrels.
The system was in place since the 18th century, when Bordeaux négociants (merchants) visited the locale or the regional chateaux (wine estates) before harvest time to purchase wineries to purchase Cabernet or Merlot grapes directly off the vine.
The modern-day en primeur system was established in the 1970s through the Bordeaux en primeur tasting weeks.
What wines are sold at Primeur?
The most well-known wines en Primeur come from the famous areas of Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Chateaux are also found in Napa Valley, Rhone Valley and Tuscany using this method.
There are numerous advantages to buy en primeur wine from the barrel. Let’s take a look.
The advantages of buying En Primeur
Wines made from En-Prieur are much less expensive than vintage wine bottles when released, which means you get an increased profit margin.
Additionally, it allows you to purchase exclusive Bordeaux and Burgundy wines that can be difficult to obtain after they’ve been the wines are released.
You may want to invest in primeur wines to satisfy several needs:
- For investment purposes only or to make profits.
- Because of a strong emotional connection to certain chateaux.
- To create a unique collection of wines (including limited editions produced in chateaux in sought-after regions such as St Emilion).
- To purchase wines at the most affordable prices to drink.
- For purchase of a case that is an unusual design -single (1.5 1 liters) or two magnums (3 liters).
How will this assist a farmer or winemaker?
En primeur sales allow the chateau with an earlier cash flow and guarantee wine sales. They can also finance the harvest for the year and enhance the vineyard operations within the chateau.
Why should you give En Primeur wines?
The wine is known as en Primeur, one type purchased before it is bottle-conditioned and still maturing inside the barrel. The advantages of giving en primeur wine are:
- Access to limited-edition and exclusive wines: wines from En primeur are typically from the best vineyards. They are sought-after by collectors as well as connoisseurs.
- Cost savings: wines made in Primeur typically are offered at a lower cost when compared to the retail price after they have been bottled and put on the market.
- Investment opportunity: En primeur wine is an excellent investment as the value of wine may increase as it gets older and becomes more sought-after and rare.
- The unique gifting experience when you give an en primeur wine is an unforgettable and unique moment for those who receive it since they can observe its journey through the barrel and even sample it as it develops.
How does the Process How Process Work?
Here’s how an en primeur wine system usually works:
1. En primeur tasting:
In the spring, at the beginning of the spring season – following the malolactic fermentation of wine, certain chateaux (like Domaine Leflaive, Chateau Petrus in Pomerol and Chateau Beaucastel, Chateauneuf Du Pape in Rhone Valley,) have an en primeur week. It includes a tasting event of samples from young harvest barrels harvested earlier in the year.
Wine critics test these (6-7 months older) samples and give scores to each. These scores indicate the quality that is expected from the Bordeaux vintage when it is bottled.
2. Sales to retailers:
The chateaux then sell some of their output at an opening en primeur cost (release cost) to negotiators (merchants).
Be aware that in Bordeaux, the ecosystem comprised of brokers, chateaux and negotiators is known as the Place de Bordeaux or the Place de Bordeaux system.
3. Buyers may be offered offers
The merchants offer special offers to their clients (importers, retailers, importers, as well as private buyers) together and tasting notes.
4. Purchase the wine:
The wine merchant after you accept the offer to purchase. Remember that this is longer than a calendar year before the chateau can release the vintage for sale on the market.
You can purchase 75cl bottles of six bottles or 12 bottles.
Once the wine is bottled (usually within 2-3 years after purchasing the wine), The wines are shipped through the Chateau warehouses bonded in the country where you reside. The wine merchants will then deliver them to you or sell the wines on your behalf.