What are the en primeurs?


The term “en primeurs” in the world of wine is a tradition that orginiates from the Bordeaux region and particularly concerns its grands crus classés. It references a way of selling wine that is still being aged and curently not on the market.

A Bordeaux tradition going back 200 years

The Bordeaux en primeur system dates back to the 18th Century after the châteaux were influenced byt the British. At the time, representatives from Bordeaux merchants would visit the châteaux a few months before the harvest to value and buy the grapes off the vine.

The Bordeaux en primeurs system today

The modern day system was introduced in the 1970s. It became an institution in the early 1980s, spearheaded by Baron Philippe de Rothschild who organised a tasting of his 1982 vintage in April while it was still maturing in barrel. The tasting was – as you might expect given the quality of the wine and the vintage – a great success and received wide media coverage. Since then, it’s become a solid tradition and a time that the whole world of wine looks forward to.

In the spring, the en primeurs week is held, during which professional tasters, journalists, buyers, importers and merchants come to Bordeaux to taste the new vintage at the region’s most prestigious properties. Shortly after, the chateaux reveal their prices one by one and merchants (like iDealwine, which has its own négoce) can then buy the wines and offer them to their customers. The wines they buy will be delivered at a later date, about a year and a half later, once the wines have finished ageing.


“En primeurs” / “Vin primeur” – what is the difference?

Be careful not to confuse the vins en primeurs sales and the vin nouveau sales with the latter referring to fruity wines that aren’t aged and are the market only a few months after the harvest. C’est par exemple le cas du Beaujolais Nouveau, qui est mis en vente chaque année le 3e jeudi du mois de novembre. It’s a wine that is barely matured and put on the market about two months after the harvest. Whereas the Bordeaux en primeur are sold in the spring after harvesting, while they are still maturing in barrel. It is a bit like a reservation system as the wine, which will be aged for a long time and has great ageing potential, will only be available some months later, even though it still won’t be ready to be consumed yet.

What are the advantages of buying en primeur wines?

The interesting thing about buying wine en primeur is that you have to pay for it in advance and receive it at least a year later.

Here are the advantages for bying Bordeaux grands crus en primeur:

* En primeur sales allow the buy er to purchase grands crus at attractive prices, and to benefit fully from the appreciation in value of their wines over time.

* Ordering en primeur is also a way for buyers to reserve rare and hard-to-find wines. It guarantees that there will be bottles in stock.

* Wines bought en primeur – for the grands crus – are sold by the case and customers will recieve their wines in an original wooden case.

* The buyer can choose the size of the bottle that they would like the wine to be in: bottle, magnum, double magnum, imperial…

* Purchasing of en primeur wines from iDealwine entitles you place your wine into the iDealwine Storage Cellar free of charge. What is more, delivery is free for purcases of €1,500 or more when the shipping address is within the EU.

* Bordeaux grands crus are wines that are stored for a long time which are adored by a global audience. And in case you decide to resell the bottles on iDealwine, they will have worldwide exposure.