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Bordeaux warned to cut prices or face ruin

Published:  27 March, 2009

Bordeaux's chateaux will need to slash their prices by half if their 2008 stock of en primeur is to survive on the world market, it has been claimed.

Berry Bros.&Rudd's Bordeaux buyer, Simon Staples, has threatened not to buy a single case of Bordeaux 2008 unless the estates radically change their pricing and take into account the recession.

He was speaking ahead of a three-day buyer's tasting in the region next week.

Sales of Bordeaux have ground to a halt since the economic crisis started to hit last October. Prices for vintages from the region had enjoyed steep price rises in previous years.  But now importers and retailers around the world have frozen new orders and some pre-orders have already been cancelled. 

"I would be happier as a stockholder to have a bargain vintage, to give everyone something to get excited about," Staples said.

"No-one has been excited about Bordeaux since 2005, the consumers are either bored of the prices, or bored of buying five or six vintages on the trot."

Berrys - the oldest wine merchant in the UK - has confirmed that it will attend the week-long tasting next week.

"We would be doing our customers a disservice if we were to take that stance and not go to Bordeaux," Staples added.

"During the week, for better or for worse, we will bring our customers the truth about the vintage. By Friday April 3 we'll have covered nearly 40 châteaux and tried over 300 wines and will be able to share a complete overview of the vintage."