About En Primeur
When you buy 'En Primeur', the wine is still in barrel evolving into a fine wine. This is prior to bottling. It is a purchase in advance of the goods being ready for delivery. Châteaux aim to pre-sell a certain proportion of their production while the wine is still maturing in barrel, around two years before it will be bottled and delivered. This helps their cash flow and allows them to plan for developing and maintaining their vineyards and wineries. In return, En Primeur prices are set at levels that, in the long term, typically reward the early purchasers. This has somewhat changed in recent years as the world economy and the dramatic increases in prices has affected the Bordeaux wine market. However; the principle still holds relatively true.
The first sales of Bordeaux En Primeur start in the spring immediately following the vintage’s harvest, just after merchants, including GVWM and the wine press have spent a frantic week tasting hundreds of wines. The wines we taste are ‘cask samples’, taken from barrels in which the wines are still maturing. In most cases these samples will be composed of several different barrels so the wine we taste reflects as closely as possible the likely final blend of the finished wine when it is bottled. There is no guarantee of this, however, as the winemaker must wait to see how barrels evolve before deciding on the final assemblage, or blend.
Interpreting the structure and quality of these infant wines, and predicting their likely evolution, requires attention, savvy, experience and humility.
Prices and availability are released by each château on the date they deem to be appropriate. Usually, the lower classified wines are released first, followed by the higher rated / classified wines, with the first growths coming towards or at the end of the releases. These wines are offered to the international markets by Bordeaux-based negociants who receive their allocations from a network of courtiers. The best wines are usually over-subscribed, and are not available to all comers. They are released ‘on allocation’ to importers known to, and trusted by, the negoicants. May and June are the busiest months, with numerous châteaux releasing prices on a single day.
GVWM offer Bordeaux En Primeur via this website, email and, where arranged, personal telephone calls from our wine advisors. For more information on how to order and pay for Bordeaux En Primeur, please see our En Primeur Buying Guide.