Monday, 16 April 2012
Château Latour: a blow to 1855's business model?
Château Latour: no en primeur from 2012
The news that Château Latour will no longer sell its wines en primeur from the 2012 vintage may well be a blow to 1855's wallet thinning business model of taking (trousering) money from its clients for en primeur and then delaying delivery as long as possible and, in some instances, not at all.
Latour have announced that they will only be releasing their wines when they are ready to drink. Much will depend upon whether the other leading Bordeaux châteaux follow suit. If the whole en primeur system was to change dramatically this could well have a serious effect on 1855's already precarious cash flow. Fabien Hyon has spoken of 1855's intention to reduce the proportion its en primeur sales. This may only be an acknowledgment that there was less demand for en primeur in 2010 and that fewer and fewer people ar prepared to order en primeur through 1855.
A lawyer who is involved with a number of cases against 1855 told me recently:
'The 1855’s case is totally unbelievable. I do not know the number of legal cases against 1855.
Few months ago, there were more than 200 cases before the business court and more than 80 cases before the Civil Court and many many cases before the Tribunal d’instance.'
Equally unbelieveable is that France's Repression des Fraudes haven't stepped in and that neither the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux nor the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés have have had the courage to issue any warning against 1855's appalling business 'practices'.
Of course should the other leading Bordeaux châteaux follow Latour's lead it is likely to have implications for the wine investment market including stopping the 'en primeur take the money and run scam' and also perhaps for the power of some leading wine critics whose scores and reports following the annual en primeur tastings are currently eagerly awaited.
Don't expect Latour 2011 en primeur to be cheap!
Early estimates suggest that ending the annual en primeur tasting would reduce the Bordeaux region's carbon emissions by a staggering 1.46%.