“There is uncertainty”, Jean-Charles Cazes, CEO at the Château Lynch-Bages, declares. “Customers who purchase our wines with no ifs and buts are seldom. In 2009* and 2010, however, we had no sales problems; we are hoping that the vivid trend will continue in 2011, but at the moment, the interest in wines is not as big as in the years before.”
So far, Lynch-Bages has always sold weaker vintages at lower prices, and they want to do so, as well, with the 2011 wine, Mr. Cazes says. “We want to find a price that is oriented to the quality of the wine, and we want the end consumer to feel the good price-quality ratio. A reduction by 50 percent or even more is, nevertheless, neither realistic nor reasonable.”
Even though, the situation in Bordeaux is far more complex than the statements of Jean-Charles Cazes may suggest. Some of the châteaux have to lower their prices but others are not forced to do so - even not in case the vintage is not really optimal. Many things depend on the brand and of the image of a certain château, respectively, and they depend as well on how the price policy of a château used to be in the past.
“With the 2011 wine, we could not attain the same quality as with the two vintages before. Nonetheless, the wines are good, they are far better than they were in 2008,” Mathieu Chadronnier, CEO at the CVBG Grands Crus négociant, says. “Even though, we expect lower prices. The big question is, if they will be lowered suffi-ciently.”
This fear rose within Mathieu Chadronnier, as well, because of the decision of sev-eral top châteaux that have sufficient financial resources and, thus, can afford the luxury to keep prices high. Yet, in case too many producers set the wrong prices for their wines, the En-Primeur campaign and, thus, the market may suffer noticeably.
But this is not the only sorrow in Bordeaux. “We definitely need a quick and smooth start and a good dynamic”, Mathieu Chadronnier says expectantly. “It would be bad if the price formation took as long as to July. It makes me feel hopefully that some Cru Bourgeois want to announce their prices directly after the En-Primeur tasting. We will see.” (red.yoopress)