Wine Word of the Week: En primeur

By Kori ~ July 26th, 2011.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is en primeur.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
En primeur is a wine trade term, French in origin, for wine sold as futures before being bottled. …. En primeur sales are a relatively recent specialty, but not exclusivity, of classed growths by the Bordeaux trade. Cask samples of wines have customarily been shown in the spring following the vintage and sales solicited, through brokers and negociants, almost immediately. A particular property often releases only a certain proportion, or tranche, of its total production, depending on its need for cash and reading of the market.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
En primeur, which means “in futures”, is a wine purchasing system that developed as a result of the tremendous demand for high-end Bordeaux wines. When the quality of the wine is judged, a broker negotiates a future share of the wine at an opening price. The en primeur system allows the winemaker to be able to collect money for the wine much earlier and allows the broker to resell the wine at a profit and guarantee availability.

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