Determining the pricing structure of en-primeur wines can be tricky but often it is just an increase on the previous year’s. Whatever the prices were last year, expect them to be a lot more this year. While this is a very simplistic view, it is usually the case. The new and increasing demand from China and the high scores received from critics in the US and UK have created the perfect hype surrounding wines released en-primeur.
2017 seems to be the exception though, according to Margaret Rand, who recently wrote about how, for the first time in a long time, en-primeur prices are not expected to increase. There are many reasons behind this but if you expect that it is due to poor vintage conditions you would be incorrect.
Fabrice Bernard, CEO of Bordeaux merchant Millésima, believes that the 2017s will be similar in quality to the 2014s, yet he still estimates that prices will come down between 20 and 25%. He believes that there will be a price decrease because of the outstanding quality of the two previous vintages – 2015 and 2016.
He thinks prices will remain the same or decrease as was the case with the 2011 vintage. The two previous vintages, 2009 and 2010, were superb followed by a good vintage in 2011. As Bernard states, ‘this is the pattern, two great years then a decent one.’
This pattern, together with the purchasing patterns of the East and West, will most likely mean that for the first time in quite some time, the 2017 prices will remain the same.