Insider Knowledge: Buying En Primeur

Insider Knowledge: Buying En Primeur

Published by Francis Elms on 17th May 2023

For those "in the know", the opportunity to buy the greatest Bordeaux wines at very advantageous prices is a smart move, and Frazier's want you to know all about it because we love happy customers!

Not all chateaux offer their wines in this manner (first growth Latour being the most high profile producer who doesn't), but for many, you can get fantastic value for money on your purchase, as long as you're prepared to wait for the wines to be shipped and for them to mature to perfection in the cellar.

Whether you want to buy cases of your favourite, everyday "drinking wines" from a great vintage (like 2022) for consumption in the near future, or are splashing out on something really special to have in 10 or 20 years' time, when the prices for the same wine, if still available, will be astronomic, En Primeur is the way to go.

Generally, Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone are the main regions offering regular releases in advance of their commercial sale of the latest vintage and Frazier's has been at the forefront of the Bordeaux En Primeur market for many years in the UK.

With a finite amount of wine available from a given chateau it's not always possible to buy the quantity you might want, so you'll need to jump in quickly to have a better chance to obtain the wines you desire. The wines are often on allocation to various brokers and we have a good relationship built up over the years to get decent quantities.

Prices are notified by the chateaux over a period of several weeks/months and are added to our list as soon as we get them. If the price shows "zero" it just means the property hasn't issued their offer yet. It's not "free"!!!

Our current 2022 EP list can be viewed here.

En Primeur is a unique way to purchase wines while they are still in the barrel, typically a year or two before they are bottled and released on the general market. It is also called “wine futures” because you buy wine before its release.

View list of En Primeur wines from Bordeaux

The key benefits of buying En Primeur are:

1. Access to wines that may be difficult to find or more expensive once released.

2. The opportunity to secure specific formats such as magnums or larger bottles.

3. Potential cost savings if the wine increases in value over time.

Regarding taxes and duties, it's important to note that the En Primeur price typically does not include these.

The initial price will cover the wine and potentially some basic transportation. However, taxes, duties, and potential shipping costs from the bonded warehouse to your home will be extra and payable once the wine is bottled and ready to be shipped. These costs can vary depending on your location, so it's always best to check specific local regulations.

As for storage, we offer a storage service in our bonded warehouse. Bonded warehouses are secure facilities where wines can be stored under optimal conditions. This is particularly important for fine wines, which can benefit from bottle age.

If you choose our storage service, the wine can remain under bond. This means that Duty and VAT are deferred until the wine leaves the bonded warehouse. If you decide to sell the wine while it's still in the bonded warehouse, you won't have to pay Duty and VAT.

Regarding shipping, the wine won't necessarily be shipped immediately upon arrival, as it needs time to mature. Most fine wines, particularly those purchased En Primeur, will benefit from several years of ageing. If you were to purchase a wine En Primeur in 2023, for instance, it would likely not be ready for drinking until around 2028 or later, depending on the wine. But this again varies depending on the producer and the specific vintage.

When you feel it's the right time to drink or sell your wines, you can request us to deliver them to you, or you can continue to store them in our bonded warehouse. The choice is entirely yours.

It's also worth noting that buying En Primeur does involve some risk, as you are buying a product that still needs to be finished. Therefore, it's always recommended to seek advice from trusted wine professionals when buying En Primeur.

Discover the 2022 vintage

In late April, the wine trade turn up "en masse" in Bordeaux to sample the new wines from barrel and William Frazier is the lucky person who gets the invitation to attend!

The majority of wines are red (Cabernet/Merlot blends), but don't forget that Bordeaux also offers superb dry whites (Sauvignon/Semillon blends) and some of the most sublime and decadent sweet wines made anywhere in the world!

The wines are tasted, judged and scored so you, as a potential customer, can make the right decision on which wines to choose. 

Contact us (0121 704 3415) if you need more information, ask for William; he'll be happy to oblige.

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