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Wine Spectator: Bordeaux Begins 2021 Futures Campaign In Challenging Times

May 24, 2022

In a time of war and deep economic anxiety, Bordeaux’s futures campaign has begun, with the first top wineries releasing futures allocations last week. Early indicators suggest price increases will be minimal, with some producers even reducing prices from last year. The big question is whether all the top names will show similar restraint.

Château Pavie, Cheval-Blanc, and Léoville Las Cases all released their first tranche of 2021 futures last week. Cheval-Blanc raised prices slightly, Pavie trimmed prices slightly, and Las Cases dropped them by more than 14% compared to the 2020 futures on release. What’s more, the dollar is the strongest it’s been against the euro in several years, giving Americans a discount.

But the 2021 futures offer twin challenges for sales teams. The vintage was not easy: Heavy April frosts drastically reduced yields, and a rainy summer left many vintners fighting fungal diseases for much of the growing season. Some winemakers had to chaptalize in the cellars. Many are calling it a traditional vintage, more elegant than powerful.

Then there’s the economic outlook as the campaign starts. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a surge of COVID-19 cases in China have exacerbated the challenges faced by an economy already struggling with inflation and the after-effects of the pandemic. Many who typically invest in Bordeaux futures aren’t feeling flush with cash. Wine Spectator is tracking 2021 Bordeaux futures prices as they’re released.

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