Price Drop Alert: Bordeaux 2023 En Primeur Set for Lower Prices

En Primeur Tradition Faces Market Realities


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As Bordeaux wine enthusiasts gear up for the highly anticipated 2023 en primeur campaign, the buzz is not just about the vintage quality but significantly about pricing strategies. Every year, the release of Bordeaux's latest vintage sparks a mix of excitement and speculation, and 2023 is no exception. While most critics and journalists haven't yet tasted the new release, the market's temperature is already rising with predictions and market strategies taking shape.

This year, global wine trade platform Liv-ex has shared insights suggesting that price increases for the upcoming campaign might be off the table due to several market conditions. Their report indicates a dip in optimism among fine wine buyers, influenced by Bordeaux's somewhat disappointing recent performances in the secondary market and an abundant stock of earlier good vintages.

In a conversation with Decanter, Anthony Maxwell, Liv-ex's commercial director, noted during his recent visit to Bordeaux that he anticipates the 2023 release prices to fall compared to last year. He emphasized that each château would likely adjust its strategy based on its market goals and specific context.

Another perspective comes from Wine Lister, a consulting group, which reported that despite the high initial pricing, the 2022 Bordeaux vintage has not performed well in the secondary market, even though the quality was highly praised. This has led Wine Lister's founding members to call unanimously for price reductions in the 2023 releases.

A survey among 50 leading fine wine businesses revealed expectations for an average price reduction of 30% in the 2023 en primeur release compared to 2022. This reflects the significant pressure and high expectations surrounding this year's primeur market.

However, it's not all gloomy. Some individual wines have seen an increase in value post their en primeur release. According to Liv-ex data, the top performers from the 2017 to 2021 vintages include Petrus, which saw an average price increase of 82% above its release price, with Château Lafleur and Château Lafite Rothschild also showing significant gains.

Despite a waning long-term interest in Bordeaux en primeurs, collectors continue to value the opportunity to acquire wines with impeccable provenance directly from the estates. Moreover, some châteaux have started retaining a larger proportion of stock for later release, a trend that might reshape the en primeur market dynamics in coming years.

The Bordeaux en primeur event remains a cornerstone in the fine wine calendar, underscoring the region's ongoing status as a benchmark of fine wine. The Union of Grands Crus de Bordeaux reports that over 5,000 visitors from around 50 countries are expected to flock to Bordeaux this month to taste barrel samples of the 2023 vintage.

As the debate over pricing and value continues, Bordeaux stands strong as a barometer of quality and sophistication in the wine world. With the 2023 en primeur releases on the horizon, all eyes will be on how these market trends evolve and how both châteaux and collectors respond to the current market complexities.

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