Why Buy Futures?
Buying wine en primeur – also known as futures – is intertwined with the history of Bordeaux’s finest wines. Until the late 20th century, the practice was largely limited to those in the wine trade. However, now savvy consumers can also purchase the most in-demand wines before they are even bottled.
Each spring, buyers and journalists converge on the region’s top châteaux to taste wines harvested the prior fall. At this early stage, the young wines are still ageing in barrel. This series of tastings takes place over the course of several weeks across all of Bordeaux’s appellations. Using trusted judges’ quality assessments, consumers can pre-purchase the wines of their choice. Buyers pay the cost of the wine upfront, and taxes and shipping when the finished wine is delivered two to three years later.
The Benefit of Buying Bordeaux En Primeur
Buying futures has several benefits:
- Access: Buying Bordeaux en primeur guarantees access to some of the world’s most highly sought-after wines.
- Availability: Buyers can choose from a much wider range of châteaux and appellations than is generally available for retail purchase.
- Format: Wines can be shipped in the buyer’s choice of bottle size at no additional cost. These rare and highly-prized large format bottles are ideal for cellaring and often unavailable for general retail sale.
- Quality: When purchased though the right channels, the wine’s provenance is guaranteed directly from the château. This ensures ideal storage conditions and enhances resale value.
- Price: Buying as futures locks in a price early on. Buyers avoid the uncertainty and fluctuations that frequently come with highly-rated vintages and top-scoring wines.
Futures and the “Place de Bordeaux”
The “Place de Bordeaux” is a system of trade developed over the region’s long history of international wine sales. Châteaux work through advisers, known as courtiers, who arrange purchase by négociants. At one point, these merchants aged and bottled the wines but this is now done at the winery. Instead, négociants generally resell Bordeaux either as futures or finished wines to members of the trade. These then sell on to other trade, such as restaurants or retailers, or to the end consumer.
Where to Buy Bordeaux En Primeur
Wines can go through many hands before reaching the final buyer, with each step adding potential for damage through improper storage or handling. Millésima purchases wines directly from the châteaux and delivers directly to the consumer, ensuring impeccable provenance. Because the wines take up to three years before final delivery, it is critical that buyers work through a trust-worthy retailer with a track record of financial stability.
See Millésima’s guarantee for more information.
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