FRANCE (Bordeaux) - After months of sadness, negotiant (traders) in Bordeaux hope that the vintage 2008 will once again interest influential wine experts but also former customers after the youngest slump in prices of the Grand Grus wines. Bordeaux wines had been avoided by them since the prices for these wines had risen dramatically in the past years.
In France, Bordeaux wines of the wine industry are known to be the gauge for their economic success. In the course of the global economic crisis, many big wine cellars but also some well-known Chateaus and many less known producers had become afraid of a financial catastrophe. However, the current price reduction of Grand Grus wines in light of the troubled market, lets everyone sigh of relief.
Traders in Bordeaux have already become accustomed to the new clientèle. Only recently they had had to deal with rich speculators. Now, that the prices of Top Grand Crus went down to up to 40 percent, the clientèle is changing as well. Now they are open to the middle of the wine markets and at the same time the hope of selling the wines widely.
"It is incredible", says Patrick Bernard, owner of Millésima. "Since 2005 the prices for Top Grand Crus had been going sky high; now they have plummeted". The first prices in this spring came from Château Angelus, who lowered their prices by 40 percent. A couple of days later, other famous Châteaux followed and lowered their prices by up to 45 percent. And Château Yquem went even further and lowered their prices by 65 percent.
Other goods, whose prices for their prime wines had to subdue to the general dynamics, also changed their prices. "The price reductions were a lot higher than I would have had expected", says Lilian Baron, co-owner of the legendary estate Château Léoville Barton and Langoa Barton and CEO of the wine trade company Les Vins Fins Anthony Barton.
However, not only the current price changes is a topic for the French wine industry. In the course of the current development, Châteaux and traders both hope for their independence from the US-wine critic Rober Parker, who in France is known by the nickname of "Million Dollar Nose". His influence on the wine market has been very fishy in the eyes of the French.
Without any doubt, Parker is an expert of Bordeaux wines. However, many people in the industry believe that he has way too much power with his ranking. Thus, some of the Châteaux try to sell their wines as soon as possible because they are afraid that Parkers ranking will destroy their prices.
Since, however, everybody is waiting for Parkers ranking list, Châteaux are having a hard time putting their wines on the market before the ranking. "Wine sales are really slow whenever people are waiting for Parkers ranking", says Patrick Bernard. "Once he has announced it, people are buying and buying in order to snatch the highest-ranked Parker wines."
Despite still fickle importers, Patrick Bernard, Lilian Baron and many other people see a new market coming. "Our traditional customers, that we lost due to the terribly high prices, are now coming back", says Bernard. "The 2008 vintage is a very excellent one for consumers. After the dramatic slump in prices, now once again we have customers, who want to drink wines instead of considering them an investment good only".
In contrast with many traders from Bordeaux, Millésima is looking good. With an annual turnover of 52 million euro, they directly sell to end-consumers in 11 European countries and to America. "The direct sale is going really well", says Bernard. "In Europe we do not have any problems with the currency".
Many experts and lovers of the Bordeaux wines had been wishing for the current development. The revival of the market, together with a friendly picture of Bordeaux and the expected turnover increase of the trade leave a lot of hope for French producers. It is no surprise that they are looking forward to presenting their wines at the coming wine fairs. (aw.yoopress)