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Bordeaux Primeurs 2020

En primeur wine sales are an age-old Bordeaux tradition, the exact origins of which are as uncertain as they are ancient.

En primeur wine sales are an age-old Bordeaux tradition, the exact origins of which are as uncertain as they are ancient.

The most likely explanation is that en primeur wine sales as we know them today, ie. wines sold as ‘futures’ before bottling, approximately a year ahead of shipment, date back to when bottling at chateau became commonplace in the mid-20th century. Before that time, wines were sold in bulk during the winter following the harvest. Traditionally limited to the close bounds of commercial relations between the negociants and the chateau, en primeur sales gradually diversified to selling wines, all over the world, and by extension, to private clients. This development has successfully placed Bordeaux at the very heart of the market, and essentially, making it a requirement for buyers from all over the world to travel to Bordeaux to taste the new vintage in situ. The en primeur tastings have therefore become a pivotal moment in the annual wine trade calendar not to be missed.

EVERY YEAR IN EARLY APRIL, SOME 6,000 WINE TRADE PROFESSIONALS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD COME TO BORDEAUX TO TAKE PART IN THIS QUASI SACROSANCT RITUAL..
AND IN PARALLEL, WE HAVE ONCE AGAIN DISPATCHED SAMPLES AROUND THE WORLD TO GIVE OUR CLIENTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO TASTE THIS QUITE UNIQUE VINTAGE

Once again we had no option but to adapt to the situation in hand. To adapt our tastings in Bordeaux at Chateau Belgrave to stringent health precautions. And in this way we were still able to welcome some of our customers from France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy, who were determined to be here.

And in parallel, we have once again dispatched samples around the world to give our clients the opportunit to taste this quite unique vintage.

We believe the way the en primeurs operates is sacrosanct. But the pandemic has also completely changed the gameplan, enabling this unique structure in the world of fine wines (envied by all), to reinvent, to improve even further and essentially, to become even stronger. 

Thankfully, what the pandemic has not been changed is the interest in fine wines, and the central role of Bordeaux within this.

In 2020, as a result of the pandemic, the en primeur tastings were unable to go ahead. We had to consider every eventuality, reassess the situation and go back to the drawing board. At the end of lockdown, a few leading negociant companies, of which CVBG/ was one of the most active and committed, together with a number of chateaux and the Union of Grands Crus, worked tirelessly to dispatch samples to key customers. A logistical nightmare maybe, yet a commercial necessity.

Further to this, the 2019 campaign, which only a few weeks before had seemed virtually impossible, was launched, with the success we all know. It was intense!

By the end of this enlightening campaign, we had come to a decision: we were going to have to change the en primeur timing, which was done back in July 2020.

Then came the time of the harvest and with it, the promise of a new vintage of great quality, and the hope of a new en primeur campaign, which would take place in much more relaxed conditions.

This was before the second wave of the pandemic…and then the third…

WE HAD TO CHANGE THE TIMING OF THE EN PRIMEURS, WHICH WE PLANNED BACK IN JULY 2020.