Bordeaux 2016: What merchants are saying about price | Decanter

Bordeaux 2016 barrel samples have yet to be properly tasted by critics, including Decanter’s Jane Anson, yet the pricing debate has started early.

Presenting 2016 as an opportunity to build confidence and a ‘new dawn’, Liv-ex said pricing decisions in Bordeaux should be less ‘opaque’ and take better account of stock in the secondary market.

From a final consumer perspective, it comes down to the economic incentive for taking a gamble on an unfinished wine. The Liv-ex report re-inforces evidence that this rationale has too often been lacking in recent campaigns – albeit not for every estate, and several Bordelais would claim to have made gestures to the market.

Early price expectations for 2016 en primeur wines: Before the main tastings

It is the first time in a while that merchants have headed into an en primeur campaign after seeing a year of recovery for top Bordeaux in the fine wine market. And although some winemakers have labelled Bordeaux 2016 as ‘the best I have made’, the new-found market optimism is fragile.

En primeur prices for 2016 need to drop by 4% on average versus 2015, according to a survey of the 49 founding members of analysis group Wine Lister, and seen by Merchants in the Americas said a 1% increase would do.

Perhaps crucially, those at the Place de Bordeaux said a 2% increase would be appropriate, setting them apart from the UK and Asia.

There is naturally some haggling taking place.

Some traders point out that the situation is complex.

At BI in the UK, Giles Cooper said that any wines approaching a 10% increase versus the 2015 price ex-Bordeaux could be playing with fire. The current euro to sterling exchange rate would translate that into a 25% rise, for example.

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Bordeaux 2016: What merchants are saying about price – Decanter.