Sluggish market for Saint-Emilion

Wednesday March 18 2020 by Vitisphere

Concern about the market for bulk wine from Saint-Emilion looms due to a drop in prices since the beginning of the marketing campaign.Concern about the market for bulk wine from Saint-Emilion looms due to a drop in prices since the beginning of the marketing campaign. - Photo credit : DR

Last December, the market started off well. There was demand from trading companies accustomed to covering themselves early, but in early February, the market slowed down. The situation can be explained by wines blocked in the ports of Marseille and Le Havre that were on strike in January; the Trump taxes; the depressed Chinese market; and finally the coronavirus”, commented broker Gilles Prince. As a result, prices are falling: at the beginning of the marketing campaign, they varied from €4,000 and 4,500 €/ cask (the same price as last year), compared with €3,800 to 4,200 now.

I'm worried”, said Prince. His concern is shared by Pierre Debacque who farms 1 ha in Saint-Emilion (90% in bulk). "There is no demand. The market is at a standstill", he admitted. In December, brokers did come to collect samples and the trade tasted the wines. Since then, nothing.  In February, he applied for a cash loan from his bank to cover his operating costs. The bank granted him €30,000.

Thomas Debacque of 10.5-hectare Château Melin, which sells between 50 and 70% of its production in bulk, noted a slowdown starting in January: “The trade is still very cautious. I am in a state of uncertainty”. Nevertheless, Debacque has worked for the past three years with the same trading company which has committed to buying 220 hl. It will load the wines by the end of April, at €4,300/ cask, €100 less than last year. Thomas Debacque remains hopeful: “We are fortunate to be in the AOC Saint-Emilion area which has a good image. There is less of an impact for us than Bordeaux”, he said.

 

 

 

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