Bordeaux prices continue up for 2009s?

More and more “release prices” have been announced from the chateaux in Bordeaux, for the wines that were tasted a couple of months ago at the “primeurs”. The tendency seems to be upwards, sometimes a lot. However, it is a little bit early to judge the total picture. But from what has been seen so far, prices will generally be above both 2008 and 2005. 2009 is considered a magnificent vintage by virtually everyone. 2008 was on the contrary a very difficult year with wines that were not awarded top points. 2009 is much compared to 2005 which was also one of the “vintages of the century” (with good reason), which is the reason for the 2009-2005 price comparisons.

Some chateaux have raised their prices compared to 2008 with 50% or even 75%, whereas others only raise the price with 5-15%. A few, very few, have actually lowered prices. The development is interesting in particular in light of 2009 export figures. In most markets sales of Bordeaux wines fell. Total exports fell with 23%!

Many markets (e.g. the US) were much harder hit. China was almost the only market where sales increased (and with a lot), as we have written about previously in the Brief. So, a sharp drop in exports and prices go up. Where’s the logic?

Of course, sales statistics only talk about total numbers and the primeurs market is only a tiny, tiny portion of that. Only some 150 chateau are on this market, out of some 10,000 in total. Perhaps one should say that the classified growths (and the likes – the primeurs market essentially) is a market all by itself, quite unrelated to the rest of Bordeaux, and a market that less and less sell to the average wine lover or wine consumer but mostly to well-off collectors or ‘buveurs d’etiquettes’ (to borrow a French expression).

On the other hand, for the average wine lover that is in a way of no real importance. There are so many other excellent and affordable wines available on the market today!

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