Idea of buying Bordeaux en primeur now is ‘null and void’, says Farr Vintners
Wine investors who bought one case of each of Bordeaux’s first growth chateaux for the five years from 2009 would have lost £35,000 if they sold last Friday, said the Wall Street Journal’s Will Lyons.
Speaking at a debate on the future of Bordeaux en primeur, hosted by Tim Atkin MW at London Wine Fair yesterday, Lyons said these “staggering amounts of money” illustrated the problems Bordeaux is currently having.
He added that if investors had just sold off only their 2009 wines they would have lost £11,500, according to Liv-ex values.
“One of the major problems of Bordeaux is the wildebeest effect,” said Berry Bros & Rudd’s Max Lalondrelle, “they [chateaux prices] all go up and down at the same time.”
Tom Hudson of Farr Vintners said: “People have walked away from en primeur, why would they [buy] when they can get it cheaper later? En primeur is not killed, we can go back, but we need to have some reality.”
He added that an anlaysis of 32 chateaux from the 2009 vintage showed that prices have fallen back by an average of 8%, which would equate to an 18% loss if you sold, taking into account the sales commission. He said that a couple of chateaux, including Pichon Baron, Cos d’Estournel and Pontet Canet, had bucked the trend, but not many.
Hudson said the “idea of buying en primeur is null and void in the present time”.
“The market has wanted pricing to go back to 2008 levels and it had been hoped that this would happen. We’re at a point of impasse at the moment. I hope the next vintage will be at a level that will bring consumers back into the market.”
Christian Seely, managing director of AXA Millesimes, said Bordeaux 2013 was “extremely varied from property to property”, and warned that generalisations on the vintage should be avoided. He said the difference in chateaux’ strategies or terroir meant some had “very decent campaigns” while others faced much greater difficulties. But he added, the negative comments from the media, before tastings had even begun, had not helped.