The en primeur debate

By August 4, 2009En Primeur, Releases

Back in May we outlined our suggestions for reforming the Bordeaux en primeur system to improve transparency and provide greater protection for buyers.

Since then our proposals have been covered by numerous media, not least the most recent issue of Decanter magazine. Interestingly, Decanter also surveyed some prominent trade members for their thoughts. An extract of the article is below.

But will Bordeaux listen? "In theory, some of the ideas are good," said Lynch-Bages' Jean-Charles Cazes. "But compliance and policing would be stumbling blocks. En primeur isn't something you can standardise, like the stock market."

Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux was even less receptive, arguing that the current system is transparent enough. He believes that the chateaux should retain title until the wine is delivered. "It has to remain a gentleman's agreement. If you don't trust the people you are working with, you shouldn't be doing en primeur."

In contrast Mike Laing at UK merchant Armit welcomed Liv-ex's proposals, while recognising the hurdles. "There should be pressure to change because it would be in customers' interests."

For more opinions on the subject, please check out the comments section of our original blog, including an interesting post from Hugo Rose. As we said previously, we welcome the fact that a debate has begun.