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Bordeaux’s Crus Bourgeois du Médoc Taking A Modern Approach To The U.S. Market

August 26, 2016

Retailing in the $13-$39 range, Cru Bourgeois du Médoc wines have upped their U.S. presence lately, and with Bordeaux’s profile rising again in the market, further growth is in the offing.

The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc trade group is comprised of about 260 family-owned and independent Left Bank producers. Its modern incarnation began in 2009, with the organization initially targeting China. In 2013, the focus shifted to the U.S., which has overtaken China as the group’s main export market. The U.S. now comprises 22% of Crus Bourgeois du Medoc’s average annual production of 25 million bottles, up from 15% a few years ago.

François Nony, the group’s vice president and owner of Château Caronne Ste. Gemme, located just south of Saint-Julien, says Crus Bourgeois du Médoc producers have become far more savvy about navigating U.S. distribution channels, and are now focused on crafting wines suitable for immediate consumption, rather than what he calls “speculative wines” embodied by the en primeur system. Currently, the retail sector is driving category growth, but addressing the on-trade opportunity—especially in major markets like New York—is now a key point on the agenda.

The Cru Bourgeois du Médoc’s U.S. growth comes against a backdrop of improved recent fortunes for Bordeaux as a whole. According to Impact Databank and the region’s CIVB trade group, total Bordeaux shipments to the U.S. more than doubled in value to €203 million ($229m) from 2010-2015, including a 14% jump last year. —Daniel Marsteller

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