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Bordeaux is facing "the most challenging en primeur campaign in its history", writes the industry magazine drinksbusiness.com in an analysis of the upcoming tastings. If there is no significant reduction in ex-château prices, the future of the system is at stake. Market conditions are "worse than they have been for over a generation". Even the campaign for the 2022 vintage cannot be considered a success: "Due to the high prices, it has not been possible to establish a stable secondary market for the wines," the authors write. For end consumers, it is cheaper to buy already matured wines from previous years than new and more expensive vintages. Due to sluggish sales, stocks are so large that they could cover demand for up to two years.

As the négociants had previously borne the financial risk, many of them were now "in serious financial difficulties". Rising financing, transport and storage costs have caused their debts to explode. Négociants had taken on quotas of wines even though they could not continue to buy them just to keep their allocations. Many could no longer afford this - or were no longer prepared to do so.

A "reduction in ex-château prices by at least 30 per cent" is therefore necessary in order to find sufficient buyers for the high-quality wines of the 2023 vintage and thus relieve the pressure on middlemen. A "reassessment and recalibration" is necessary. To achieve this, the first price releases must send a clear signal and be symbolically low. Otherwise, the "en primeur" system would be under threat.

(al / Source: drinksbusiness.com)

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