At this time of year Bordeaux lovers and producers both start to get excited and nervous as the new (2021) vintage wines are being tasted and rated by critics and merchants. This is then followed by the prices being released for En-primeur sales, but what does this mean?
In simple terms, it is the sale of wine prior to being bottled. Merchants receive an allocation of a wine which they can sell. It can be the best time to buy, but not always as effectively as it is for wine futures.
So what are the costs? If you buy a 12 bottle case of Chateau XXX at £100 this wine will be shipped to the merchant you bought it from, usually two years later, so summer 2023. At that time the wine will be closed as In-Bond. This means no duty, currently £26.78 per 12 75cl, or VAT, currently 20% has been paid. So you can choose to leave it in-bond with the merchant, who usually offers storage at around £10 per case, or pay the additional fees, leave it in storage duty paid or have it delivered to you. Your charge would be £26.78 plus £25.36 vat =£52.14.
So in total you will have paid £152.14 for your case of 12 bottles.
So is it worth it?
There are a few reasons why buying En Primeur can work for you. One is price. Using 2020 vintage as an example. I bought a case of Chateau Cissac for £90. Once I pay the duty and vat the total case price will be £140.14 per case of 12 or £11.69 per bottle. I would look to start drinking this from 2025. So arrives with merchant 2022, three years storage £10 per year so additional £2.50 per bottle. Current market price for 2017 vintage is £20 per bottle, so a £5.87 saving per bottle.
If you buy En-primeur regularly you get into a cycle where you are buying a case and having a case delivered ready for drinking.
Another reason is that some wines are more difficult to get hold of once they are in bottle, so you can secure a case of your favourite wine.
As the price of the wines of Bordeaux increases merchants offer many in 6’s and 3’s rather than 12 and in some cases single bottles.
If you would like any more information on buying En-Primeur please get in touch.