En primeur also known as “wine futures” or as we like to call ours Pre-Sale is the process for consumers to purchase wines early while the vintage is still being finished in barrel, prior to bottling.
This offers a great opportunity to the customer to “invest” before the wine is bottled, more often than not at a discounted or simply lower rate than the expected RRP once the wine is bottled and released onto the market. Payment is made at order time allowing a positive cash flow for the producer and securing the customer a wine that could be in short supply once released.
This is an option that usually offered in such regions as Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhone Valley & Port – but there are no rules as to which wine making regions can offer it, especially if they believe a specific vintage is going to be well received.
In the spring after a year long harvest, merchants and trade organizations will taste barrel samples of wine that are often only 6–8 months old. In the case of Bordeaux, where the final wine is often a blend of several grape varieties, the winemaker will try to craft an approximate blend to sample. The composition of the final wine may differ from the sample depending on how each barrel matures during the aging process.
Based on the initial sample, the wines will be giving a preliminary “score” or wine rating based on the expected quality of the wine once it is bottled, released and has had time to mature.
An en primeur wine gives the owner the right to receive the respective bottles of wines once the producer has completed the maturing phase of the wine. Wine bought en primeur is often directly placed into custom-free storage holding, ‘in bond’. Known as a delicate method of investment, a purchase may ultimately be deemed a loss, or there may be considerable profit. For example, the 1982 vintage of Château Latour, was sold at £250 a case en primeur in 1983, while valued in 2007 at £9,000, although the major part of this price increase occurred after bottling.
Now we are not claiming to be producing wines in the class of Bordeaux here in the Amber Valley just yet (give us time!) – and while we don’t offer our pre-sale duty or tax free, it does come with 20% discount on expected RRP. This year will also be the first year we haven’t released the new vintage (2016) immediately – so having access to the en primeur (pre-sale) cases, of which there is only 50 cases available (300 bottles), will be a real exclusive club.