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The Bordelais are playing a dangerous game by delaying the release of 2010 prices and risk losing potential buyers, fine wine merchants have warned.
Simon Staples, Berry Bros & Rudd’s sales and marketing director, described the silence from Bordeaux as “deafening and quite worrying”.
“This is a very dangerous year for the Chateaux to play mind games, not only with themselves but most importantly the end user,” he told Harpers. “Very few Chateaux will sell through the chain at the same price as last year and every day that goes by without any activity this is compounded.
“If I were a Chateau under the top 25 brands I would release prices now, at slightly less than 2009 and try and trump my peers. There were a few Chateaux who really got it wrong last year and procrastination this year will only make that number grow dramatically.”
He added that while interest from clients was high after the en primeur tastings last month, it was “not as high as 2009”.
Robert Parker’s influence on price is slowly declining, according to Staples. “We have seen a slight increase in interest since Big Bob’s edict was laid down, but his influence is waning year on year.”
Tom King, who looks after en primeur at Great Western Wine, agreed: “We’ve had a good amount of interest from customers, but interestingly it mostly came before Parker released his scores.”
Ben Collins, Bibendum’s fine wine director, reported “a huge amount of interest in the 2010s”, with “building anticipation amongst potential buyers”.
However he warned the Bordelais might price themselves out of the market if they aim too high. “The key factor will be price. We won’t know the real demand for the wines until the prices are released and significant price increases from the Chateaux could quickly deflate the enthusiasm we are currently seeing,” he said.
Mark Bedini, chief executive of Fine & Rare, warned that Parker’s high scores could put potential buyers off the comparatively more affordable wines beneath the first growths and top names. “At the low end the buyer might be psychologically not in the frame of mind to go in and buy, believing the prices will be ridiculously high,” he said.
Story by Laura Clark
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review