• Veblen Wines Ltd

A modest proposal for Bordeaux - release the 2019s next spring

Rupert Millar - Source: thedrinksbusiness.com

With the world in the grip of a pandemic and with social and economic disruption spreading across multiple countries, now is the time for a radical shake up of the Bordeaux en primeur system and for the châteaux to offer their 2019 wines next spring and create a new template for the whole futures process.

This article contends that the sales window for selling the 2019 futures this year is precarious and diminishing appetite for a high priced vintage which 2019 is likely to be is negligible. And yet this moment also presents a unique chance to utterly reform en primeur for the better by waiting a year and then presenting wines that are at the end of their élevage and ready to bottle.

The arrival of Covid-19 has thrown the world into turmoil with much of Europe either in or going into quarantine/lockdown to contain the spread of the virus while governments issue financial aid packages unprecedented in peacetime conditions.

In the wine trade events both large and small have been cancelled this year or postponed to later dates when - it is hoped at least - the pandemic will be largely over.

Among the events disrupted has been the annual en primeur tastings in Bordeaux, with the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux cancelling its programme and many individual châteaux announcing they would not be accepting visitors as a precaution. Latour also shelved its planned release of the 2012 grand vin, pushing it back to the autumn.

France's president, Emmanuel Macron, then placed the country into lockdown this week and all travel into the country by non-French citizens is currently prohibited with the EU closing its borders too which has put a very definitive final stamp on the whole situation.

The UK and other countries worldwide are also going in to lockdown with populations advised to self-isolate and work from home and with disruption likely until May at the very least.

There is no doubt that an economic fallout from the pandemic is likely - though hopefully neither too deep nor prolonged (but who can say?).

There is a question mark, therefore, over this year's offering of the next vintage from Bordeaux. Will it go ahead? Can it go ahead? Should it go ahead? And is there a better option.

It is often asked before a futures campaign what the appetite will be for the wines and this is especially pertinent this year, especially considering there is already an economic slowdown in mainland China, recession in Hong Kong and the Trump tariffs and Brexit on top of the coronavirus outbreak. And then there is the dilemma of when of when there might be chance to actually offer these wines this year.

Read the full article at: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2020/03/a-modest-proposal-for-bordeaux-release-the-2019s-next-spring/