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Fine & Rare celebrates an "excellent" 2010 en primeur campaign

Published:  20 July, 2011

The 2010 Bordeaux en primeur campaign was a "massive success" providing brokers were able to pick the best value wines, according to Fine & Rare Wines.

Simon Davies, Fine & Rare's head of marketing, described the campaign as being "overall excellent" for the company and has helped it capitalise on its growing customer base over the last year to 18 months.

But he said the company had taken the deliberate position to cut its own profitability from en primeur in order to offer the best value deals to its customers. "We wanted to make the campaign affordable for our customers."
He added: "There had been a feeling in the trade that the 2010 campaign was not going to succeed. But we took the attitude that we were going to make this a success."

He said that whilst Fine & Rare "did not sell across the breadth of chateau as in previous years" the ones it did "sold very well".

The key, he said, was to take great care in selecting wines that had scored as good or better Parker points than in 2009 and were on sale at better than 2009 prices. "Wines that worked well were those that had a perception of value," he added. By being able to take up allocations quickly on those wines, it was able to go back and acquire more once they had sold out. "We set out to get big allocations of certain wines. That was the key," said Davies. Helped by the fact many of its competitors had been slower than normal in taking up their allocations.

He said Fine & Rare had in previous campaigns been frustrated by not having enough wine to sell so this year's en primeur was a significant step forward.

He also blasted some Bordeaux houses for making "catastrophic" decisions over their pricing, particularly those that raised their prices even though they got a lower Parker score than in 2009.

He said the campaign had become "far too drawn out" not helped by Vinexpo getting in the way.  "The Bordelais are rubbish poker players. They sit around waiting for one of them to make a move and then they all rush out on their coat tails".

He said there was a good argument for the Union of Grand Crus de Bordeaux to step in and agree a final cut off point for the en primeur campaign, potentially the end of May, but said even then the majority of chateau would wait until the last possible moment before releasing prices.