Ramblings of a wine buyer
Author: Simon Staples
Every year the time between when we taste the wines and when we get the prices to sell them to you seems to get longer and longer. I just wanted to express how I understand your frustrations with the ludicrous and seemingly pointless nature of this delay. I have to say this is the most ridiculous way for any product to get to “market”. We tasted these great wines at the end of March, we told you about their various merits the 2nd week of April. Ok, so then we have to wait for good old Parker to release his edict, marvel at the stunned awe etc. etc., but that was the end of April…….it’s June 14th!
We still have about over 60% of the wines to release their prices. Also let’s face facts, they are getting pretty chunky on price now and this tactic is only partially working – eg. Calon Ségur released its price 110% up on last year today and sold out in minutes. Prieure Lichine came out at the négociants 50% more than last year and not a case sold so far. My fear is that as the Bordelaise try to cram all the releases in before July we shall have a huge “bus effect” which doesn’t help you very much as you are bombarded by tedious emails from your account managers and makes buying a nightmare.
It has always been a strange phenomenon that the châteaux’s reluctance to just “get on with it” and bring a price to market is in part economics but mainly because they can’t be seen to be cheaper than their geographical neighbour. I do see it from the châteaux’s point of view of course: if you make 30,000 cases of a top Médoc, a few Euros either way is a large amount of cash, HOWEVER it should never take this long to take that leap of faith.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings, here comes another bus…..what a shocker! We can’t get enough people aboard…..ie. not enough allocations!! Don’t get me started……..Keep an eye out for your account managers’ emails and the homepage updates. It’s going to get pretty frantic from here on in…