Bordeaux and En Primeur sourcing: A guide

NFT Sommelier
WiV Technology
Published in
6 min readOct 27, 2021

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En primeur wine is one of the most assured ways to get in on a wine investment, both at the best possible price and with the longest window for making returns on your investment.

You can read a detailed description of exactly how this works in our previous article here: What is En Primeur Wine?. Meaning: | by Thomas Williams | WiV Technology | Oct 2021 | Medium

But the short story is that the process of buying en primeur wine essentially means buying wine before it has even been bottled. While it is still maturing in the barrel.

This begs the question, how do you identify a good en primeur wine in the first place? With this question in mind, we will be diving into a specific region to understand what constitutes a worthy E.P. investment.

To break it down first, a good en primeur wine needs a few things.

- It needs to be an excellent wine with the potential to age for a long time.

- It needs to be from a market that has a proven track record of market liquidity.

- It needs to be a wine that has desirability beyond either its taste, or capital growth potential.

The Bordeaux region is famous in the wine world for producing excellent wines to drink, and excellent wines to invest in. The wines from Bordeaux display all three of the characteristics of the checklist above, and we will break down exactly how.

Bordeaux wine potential

Bordeaux is a region that produces red and white wines, however, for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the red grapes. This is simply because white wines rarely represent good investment opportunities with their inability to age as well or for as long as their red counterparts.

The primary grapes used in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and a few others in much smaller quantities. These four primary grapes allow the winemakers of Bordeaux the ability to make exceptionally balanced fine wines that can adapt to different climatic challenges and market forces. The primary assets of these grapes that give them excellent aging potential include,

- High acidity

- Great depth of flavor

- Complexity

- High tannin

- High alcohol

The presence of these elements means that the wines evolve and grow over time bringing out different aromas and flavors. It is this aging potential that gives these wines their impressive price points. As wine ages, it becomes more desirable, more scarce, and more complex. In short, more rare and valuable.

(Counter clockwise — Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc)

Bordeaux market liquidity

An enclave of the wine trade for the last 1000 years, Bordeaux has consistently been at the epicenter of wine growing, buying, and selling for all that time. Due in part to its regular trade with, and the influence of the British and the Dutch on both the buying and export sides of the wine business. It is a region that produces more fine wine and trophy wine than anywhere else in the world, despite these wines only accounting for about 5% of their overall production. Their system of having winemakers and merchants, or Négociants as they are called in France, as two sides to the industry has meant that the consumers and the winemakers both have a third party whom they can trust to know the market taste and to standardize prices fairly. Finally, their formidable cru classification system, backed by French law, has created a market where consumers have gained confidence that the wine they are buying is more or less guaranteed to age well over time, creating a stable and sought-after investment.

As a result of all of this, the primary and secondary market for Bordeaux fine wine is as strong and as liquid as ever. This popularity is only increasing with the audience for Bordeaux wine expanding in countries that have not always had a traditional wine market, such as China. Any investment made in Bordeaux wine is almost guaranteed to find an audience going forward, and as such means that you can capitalize on your investments quite easily as there will always be interested buyers.

Getting early access then to Bordeaux wine represents a great entry point price for an asset that will nearly always have a market available for you to sell it at a later point. Hopefully for a considerable amount of profit.

Bordeaux wine desirability

Bordeaux has for centuries been seen as a premier wine growing region, with very famous names on record as enjoying it. Its pre-eminence began in 1152 when Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry Plantagenet who later became the king of England, and through his wife, king of most of north and western France as well.

Later this royal connection to the English kings bore fruit when King John (1199–1216) granted the Bordeaux region numerous privileges, including tax exemptions that catapulted Bordeaux wine to the very top of the most consumed wines list.

Ever since then, through English, Dutch, and of course French rule, Bordeaux has more or less maintained its image as a great wine region, and a wine region that produces top quality. The later introduction of the classification system in 1855 added further weight to the idea that Bordeaux wine was a luxury asset. Rating various Chateaux against a sliding scale of quality and price. As well as enforcing best practices on those who wished to be classified. This meant that consumers could now pick and choose wines depending on their preference and budget, safe in the knowledge that what they were buying had a baseline level of quality.

In later years this classification system, though still important, has bled out into the surrounding non-classified areas. All of which are now producing wines of exceptional quality in the hope that they can become classified in their own right. A region that this is true of is Pomerol where wines are consistently outperforming expectations and making a name for themselves.

All of these various factors have over the centuries created a mirage of class, luxury, and decadence surrounding the wines of Bordeaux that is akin to buying a nice car such as a Ferrari, or a fancy watch such as a Rolex.

That is why, aside from Bordeaux wine being of exceptional quality, and existing in a very liquid marketplace. You can still rest assured of the price appreciation of Bordeaux wines simply because they are desired. When people think of fine wine, they think almost instantly of Bordeaux wines and will often be prepared to pay well for the prestige of owning and drinking it.

To conclude

If you stick to these three basic ideas when you search for an En Primeur wine, then you really cannot go wrong.

- It needs to be an excellent wine with the potential to age for a long time.

- It needs to be from a market that has a proven track record of market liquidity.

- It needs to be a wine that has desirability beyond either its taste or capital growth potential.

There are multiple regions and wines that display these characteristics aside from Bordeaux, such as Napa Valley in California, or Valpolicella in Italy. Just make sure you follow these basic steps in identifying your investment, and you can look forward to healthy returns in the future. Best of luck.

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NFT Sommelier
WiV Technology

🟧⛓ enthusiast, degenerate shit coin juggler and simian image collector.