What is THE question about 2017 En Primeur?

Wednesday April 18 2018 by Vitisphere

'With 2017 En Primeur, the issues are not the same as in 2013 or 1991. It is very much about limited supplies, unfavourable exchange rates and uncertainties in the marketplace...' explained Philippe Castéja.'With 2017 En Primeur, the issues are not the same as in 2013 or 1991. It is very much about limited supplies, unfavourable exchange rates and uncertainties in the marketplace...' explained Philippe Castéja. - Photo credit : Alexandre Abellan (Vitisphere)

The Bordeaux presentation of the vintage currently maturing attracted the customary crowd of 6,000 to 9,000 professional tasters, depending on the ‘en primeurs’. In terms of vintage perception, the response is mostly one of surprise, claimed Philippe Castéja as chairman of the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855. “I think 2017 is a very good vintage, with lots of fruit and elegance. I am not sure that it is as inconsistent as people say”, added the owner of chateaux Beau-Site (Saint-Estèphe), Batailley, Lynch-Moussas (Pauillac) and Trotte Vieille (Saint-Émilion).

While tasters' scores continue to be released with almost metronomic regularity, speculation is now focusing on the marketing campaign for wines sold en primeur. The challenge is to predict the tempo, prices and quantities issued after the frost-struck harvest in 2017. “That's the big question for these futures: how will the wine industry approach the releases?” pointed out Castéja.

Extremely difficult start

With properties having to decide between marketing as en primeur and storing bottled wines, “marketing is going to be extremely difficult. I'm not sure the wines will be released early on. With the May bank holidays and Vinexpo Hong Kong from 29 to 31 May, there is a good chance that many growths will be released at the same time. This is likely to cause congestion for the campaign...” believes Castéja, who also thinks the issue of pricing will depend above all on policies for individual growths. Or in other words, the games have now begun in what promises to be a wait-and-see style buying campaign.

 

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