In the Champions League of Wines

When the Bordeaux winegrowers bring in their harvest in September, the city’s main wine merchants are also very busy. The reason for this bustle is the launch of these noble wines from all over the world, which are sold exclusively in France, and their numbers are increasing rapidly. Les Primeurs, an annual tasting of young wines for sale by subscription, attracted up to 5,000 professionals in the Gironde and at the wineries in the pre-commercial period. Six months later, in August, there is another pre-tasting – and this one is very low-key. For this one, however, it is not noble wines from the various regions of Bordeaux that are on the programme, but treasures from the entire wine world. The large Bordeaux wine merchants have quietly opened up another business segment in addition to the top Bordeaux wine segment: the distribution of great wines from all over the world. Until 1998, Bordeaux wine merchants did not market any wine that did not originate in the wine region. The Chilean Almaviva, 1996 vintage, made its debut, so much so that today it can be described as a “game changer”. Almaviva, a joint venture between Baroness Philippine Rothschild of Château Mouton-Rothschild and Chile’s leading vineyard. Concha y Toro, has – like many others of the 50 or so international ultra-premium wines that are now exclusive to certain companies. markets such as Europe or China exclusively – has a direct impact on the competitiveness of the company. market – have a direct or indirect influence on the Bordeaux wine industry. California-based Opus One, also a Rothschild joint venture, has also been following the Bordeaux lead since 2004 when it comes to distributing the Napa Valley icon outside the US. In the meantime, the big estates have made a point of distributing their best wines through the French wine metropolis. To do so, they rely on the top staff of the world’s leading wine trading houses. Of the leading Bordeaux wine merchants, such as CVBG, Duclos, Grands Chais de France or Joanne. They in turn cooperate with the best wine merchants in more than 170 countries around the world. Thanks to the expertise that “La Place” has developed in the subscription distribution of the great names of Bordeaux, the leading international producers can also be sure that ultimately their icons will be offered to wine lovers and collectors who want and can afford the best of the best in the glass. “This is clearly a win-win situation,” explains Jean-Quentin Prats, director of Joanne Rare Wines, “because the leading representatives of the Bordeaux negociant have competent teams on the ground in all the important markets. “The family business” Joanne is one of the big players in the wine world. Not far from Bordeaux, around five million bottles of exquisite origin are stored under ideal conditions on some 18,000 square metres. At first, the additional distribution of foreign wines seemed to be a favour to the traditional merchants. It was only in the last few years, mainly due to the enormous demand in Asia, that they realised that they were dealing with a very dynamic segment. “The advantage for the customer is clearly that they can now order small quantities of a great wine without having to import the whole range from a winery,” says Prats. “Icons, which are often not very numerous, can thus be positioned much more widely internationally. And thanks to our expertise, they also get into the hands of the right customers.” The list of products that the specialist trade can source directly from Bordeaux is growing year on year. Currently, wines from Italy, Spain, France, but also from the New World such as the United States, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Australia. With well-trained sales staff in often very distant markets, wineries can easily reach potential customers in countries they could never serve themselves. This makes distribution via Bordeaux attractive even for the world’s most famous producers. “The customers who can afford Château Pétrus are the same as those who are also interested in Opus One or Masseto,” assures Ornellaia’s boss, Tuscan Axel Heinz, who sells his cult wines outside Italy and the US exclusively via Bordeaux. “Masseto was the first Italian wine to go this route in 2008. And we don’t have to worry about the distribution of wines anymore.” Joanne Rare Wines has listed no less than 35 wines from Italy for its 2021 range, and Jean-Quentin Prats sees additional potential. “Especially in Asia, we have recently started to feel a trend towards classics like Brunello di Montalcino, in addition to the demand for Bolgheri blue chips. It is only a matter of time before the first Piedmontese wines are also on our list. For the first time this year, a wine from Spain will also be offered exclusively. Cult winemakerTelmo Rodríguez has decided to put his new luxury Rioja Yjar in the hands of the distribution experts in the hands of the distribution experts in France. Australian giant Penfolds is also making its first attempt with Coonawarra’s BIN 169. It is probably only a matter of time before wines from Germany or Austria also appear on the price lists in Bordeaux. Source : Falstaff Date de parution : Octobre 2021 Lien :  

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