• Wine world

What is En-Primeurs week in Bordeaux?

  • Mon, Apr 22, 2024 at 10:30
En-Primeurs red wine glass in the cellar
The En-Primeurs week in Bordeaux is an annual event eagerly awaited by wine lovers around the world and Bordeaux wine merchants alike. It is an ancient tradition, steeped in history and economic importance, which offers an exclusive preview of the forthcoming harvest and allows buyers to acquire Bordeaux wines before they are officially bottled.

The history of En-Primeurs wines

Thanks to an exceptional terroir, favourable microclimates and a singular history inherited from the Aquitaine region, Bordeaux wines have always been an undisputed benchmark in the world of fine wines, a reputation that continues to this day.

Initially introduced by the British for Port wines, the Primeurs system was applied to Bordeaux wines in the 1970s by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB). The principle was to group together the tastings of Primeur wines over the same period. The practice then developed in the 1980s under the impetus of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, who organised his own tasting of his 1982 vintage at the château.

The Bordeaux En-Primeurs allowed châteaux to market their wines in the form of allocations even before they were bottled. The funds generated in this way are then reinvested to finance the following year's viticultural operations and production. It's a way of financing a 'slow' period while covering storage costs.

Bordeaux is the only vineyard in the world to use the Primeurs system through a closed market, commonly known as the "Place de Bordeaux", which has rapidly become a pillar of the Bordeaux wine economy. As a result, wine merchants like U'wine play a crucial role in representing estate owners and ensuring the distribution of their Bordeaux wines. This unique model makes Bordeaux a wine region in its own right, distinguished by its distinctive marketing system and network of renowned négociants.

The En-Primeurs wine process

The Bordeaux En-Primeurs generally take place in the spring, a few months after the previous year's harvest. The process begins with en primeur tastings, where industry professionals, such as brokers, merchants, journalists and buyers, have the opportunity to taste the Bordeaux wines being matured at the Bordeaux châteaux themselves.

Primeur tastings provide an early indication of the quality and potential of Bordeaux wines, even if they are not yet ready to be bottled. These tastings allow us to assess the characteristics of the vintage, such as structure, acidity, tannins and aromas.

After the tastings, the négociants and brokers decide whether or not to buy from the producers, using the allocation system. En-Primeurs wines are often bought at a lower price than deliverables (i.e. wines available on the market, ready to be bought for consumption or investment). This price difference is explained by the lower margin applied by the merchants, as they do not have to take on the stock or promote the En-Primeurs wines. En-Primeurs wines bought during this period will be bottled and marketed only 18 to 24 months later (the time required for ageing).

The importance of Primeurs in Bordeaux

En-Primeurs wines enable producers to generate income before their wines are officially bottled, which is crucial for financing viticultural operations and covering production costs.

For buyers, En-Primeurs wines offer the opportunity to acquire quality Bordeaux wines at attractive prices, often lower than those that will be charged once the wines are bottled and available on the market. This attracts many investors and wine lovers who see the En-Primeurs wines as a chance to buy promising Bordeaux wines at an early stage.

En-Primeurs wines also attract international media attention and stimulate interest in upcoming vintages, helping to boost the reputation and profile of Bordeaux wines on the world stage.

En-Primeurs wines at U'wine

The Bordeaux En-Primeurs week are a reflection of a long winemaking tradition, an early indicator of the quality of upcoming vintages and a key economic driver for the Bordeaux wine industry. Whether you're a broker, merchant or wine lover, the Bordeaux En-Primeurs offer a unique opportunity to discover and acquire some of the finest wines.

The U'wine team is gearing up enthusiastically for the week of En-Primeurs wines, which runs from 22 to 29 April. With tastings of vintages in the process of maturing and discussions with the Bordeaux châteaux, the week promises to be intense and rich in discoveries. We look forward to sharing this unique experience with our members and wine enthusiasts.

Follow our adventures throughout Bordeaux En-Primeurs week on our social networks so you don't miss any of the highlights of this not-to-be-missed event. Stay tuned!

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