Once a boon for the fine wine market, in recent years En Primeur has left buyers cold. The record release prices of the 2009 and 2010 vintages tested the resolve of the En Primeur market. Failure to re-adjust prices in the following two years effectively killed demand.
And it would seem from the chart above that buying En Primeur no longer benefits the investor. We have taken 30 leading Bordeaux chateaux and calculated the current returns for those who bought at the London release price. It is immediately striking how these returns collapse from 2005 (when release prices were three times that of 2004). Buying in the last four years would have lost you money.
The 2013 vintage is reported to be of small quantity and poor quality. If the chateaux are seeking to coax buyers back into the fold, the chart clearly shows in which direction they need to head. From the 2006 vintage onwards the inverse correlation between release prices and returns is stark. 2008, the cheapest of all (with the banking crisis at its grimmest), has produced returns of 61%; 2010, the most expensive ever, has produced losses of 17%. The scale of the challenge facing the chateaux next April is clear for all to see.