The primeur campaign is a critical moment for the sales of Bordeaux wines, especially the classified growths. A Bordeaux chateau can sell its wine as a future approximately two years before bottling. Known in the French trade as en primeur, a wine future is offered when the wine is very young; it usually has an additional 16 to 18 months of barrel maturation ahead. Buyers of wine futures aim to secure access to wines that are highly sought after at a relatively low price, hoping that the value of the wine will increase between the date of purchase and its delivery date.
Although its length is variable year after year, the primeur campaign generally stretches from March to June, and relates to the harvest of the previous year. The defining moment of the campaign is the wine tasting week, where thousands of wine professionals from all around the world come to Bordeaux to discover wines that just ended their fermentation process. Among these professionals, wine critics are given special attention, with Robert PARKER being the most reputed of them.
The wine professionals we met will give you a chance to discover an unfamiliar angle of the world of Grands Crus Classés: its en primeur system, a wine sales system which is more complex than it seems. This documentary explores the stakes of the primeur campaign for these classified growths: the process of fixing and announcing the “exit price or ex chateau price”, the system of allocation, the role of the different stakeholders of the Bordeaux place as well as the major role played by about 20 of the most influential journalists, finally the importance given to different classifications including that of 1855 in the reputation of these great wines.