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Wine futures, the most sought-after

25/05/2022 Winemaking

Buying and selling wines en primeur, or at an early stage, is a system that offers wine lovers the opportunity to acquire great brands before they are bottled and sold. By which we mean, while a vintage is still refining in barrel. Not only does it allow access to wines that are not normally available to everyone at a much lower price, but it can also be a very profitable and low risk investment. This practice started in French wineries, specifically in Bordeaux, but this pre-sale system is becoming more popular in more countries. If you still don’t understand the advantages of buying unique wine futures, don't worry, we are here to explain it to you.

A forward-looking system

Undoubtedly, the most famous vineyards in the world are in Bordeaux, in southwest France. Excellent terroirs, unique microclimates and a long winemaking tradition have made this region the wine capital of the world and a world reference for quality wines. However, its story has not always been so easy. The devastating phylloxera outbreak at the end of the 19th century and the severe economic crisis in the 1970s forced many châteaux to sell their coveted properties to financial groups. Others resisted by producing second wines, made in the same style, but using grapes that did not reach the level required to make first wines. Finally, one thing that has allowed winemakers to continue with their projects has been the sale of wine futures, that is, when they haven’t finished in the barrels yet. For the Châteaux, selling their wine like this, as well as helping to finance the running of the estate and the production of the next vintage, is also a symbol of status and prestige. If the great experts have faith in their new vintages before they are ready, it is because their wines have a lot of promise.

La Place de Bordeaux, the Wall Street of wine

The idea of buying en primeur was developed by the negociant. A wine intermediary role that has been around for more than 200 years and, in exchange for providing money to the winery, they labelled the wine and sold it later for a higher price. However, because of speculation, in 1972 the French government took action and forced all classified châteaux to bottle on their own property. This is when wineries worked out how to raise capital without having to deliver the wine in a way that benefitted the winery, the negociant and, of course, the final consumer: selling wine en primeur.
But setting the price of a wine at an early stage is by no means random. To make this work, every year, usually during the first week in April, the most important commercial event in Bordeaux takes place. Sommeliers, journalists, buyers, importers and other professionals from around the world come to La Place in the wine capital to taste the latest vintages of the great châteaux straight from the barrel. The wine’s prestige is at stake in these tastings and, based on the comments that are later published on the front pages of the specialised press, the winery sets its selling price. This is when all the players in the system enter the game and the Primeurs campaign begins. It should be noted that when it comes to buying en primeur in Bordeaux, there is a very traditional hierarchy that cannot be overlooked. The châteaux, through ‘courtiers’ (brokers who act as couriers), sell to the negociants and then they are in charge of supplying wine merchants and importers. It is through the latter that end consumers will finally be able to access such sought-after wines.

A masterful move

The reasons why this sales system is so attractive to wine lovers are obvious. For starters, it gives you access to an exclusive sale of very special wines. In addition, by purchasing them before they go on sale, you ensure maximum availability. And finally, you get great gems at a very low price. Although this last point depends on many things because you can never be sure of the value it will later reach on the market, the truth is that this buying system is always advantageous. Normally, the price is higher once the wine is ready and may even double in price or more. There are so many advantages of a wine future that, what used to be a market for experts and daring people, has become something lots of people are getting involved in recent years. Behind the premises of exclusivity, limitation and price, wine has something very unique that other investments don’t have. Once opened, there is no option to do it again or reuse it. It is unique! So if you’re thinking of making a good investment, with a low price and maximum pleasure, or you simply want to finally get your hands on the wine of your dreams, here at Decántalo we make it easy for you with our selection of wine futures. Hurry up, good things don’t stick around for long!