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Wine Spectator: Bordeaux Launches 2019 Futures Campaign, With Initial Release Prices Down Significantly

June 4, 2020

Bordeaux has launched its annual en primeur campaign. Château Pontet-Canet started things off, releasing its 2019 futures at €58 ($65) a bottle, ex-négociant, down 31% on the 2018 opening price of €84 ($94.25). After moving through the distribution system, U.S. consumers can expect to see the wine retail at about $70 a bottle, or $840 a case. That’s 41% less than the 2018 futures at retail. It’s also about half the current retail price for the 2016 and 2015 vintages currently on retail shelves and of comparable quality.

The only thing certain about this year’s campaign is that Bordeaux is in uncharted waters. The U.S. market is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, 25% tariffs remain in place for most French wines, and American consumer interest in 2019 Bordeaux seems nonexistent. The tariffs in particular add a complication—consumers won’t pay them on futures now, but could end up paying them in two years when the wine is delivered if the trade spat hasn’t been resolved.

“Pontet-Canet got the ball rolling and their decrease is the right direction,” said Chris Adams, CEO of New York City’s Sherry-Lehmann, a major retailer that typically takes a strong position on Bordeaux. “But the difficulty is we’re facing a situation where we don’t know what the tariffs will do.” Wine Spectator has the full story.—James Molesworth

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