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What goes up must come down

While many major merchants predict Bordeaux 2010 release prices to match or exceed those of 2009, fears are mounting that the majority of fine wine drinkers will be unwilling to stock up on another expensive young vintage, forcing pricing adjustments after first release.

Some châteaux have already indicated to the drinks business that pricing will remain more or less the same in 2010.

Speaking to db earlier this week, José Bueno, former winemaker at Château Mouton Rothschild and its affiliate estates and now winemaker at Château Clauzet in St Estèphe, reported that prices would go up 5% for his wines.

For an estate rated 91/92 by James Suckling, 16 by Jancis Robinson MW and 85/87 by Neal Martin, 5% means a hike from €10.20 a bottle to €10.60.

The owner, Baron Maurice Velge, also told db that he did not believe prices would change dramatically and some may even go down on their 2009 levels.

Meanwhile, Simon Staples, Berry Bros’ marketing director, has his own theory.

Staples recently came up with his own analysis of what might happen this summer. “I can’t see any of the châteaux that we sell at less than £1,500 per case dropping their prices too much on 2009 and, given the quality, in many ways I’d have to agree with them," he said.

“However, with less hype than 2009, the world is not in quite as good a mood as this time last year and the fact that last year was also great, with the most expensive prices ever.

“I have a theory that those châteaux, even the first growths, selling at £1,500+ will think they’ll sell because the pre-£1,500 per cases have sold, but will flounder a little on release and end up having to be slightly cheaper than 2009 in order to sell.”

However, before anyone gets too excited, he stressed: “It’s only a theory so please don’t shoot the theorist if it’s not the case.”

Rupert Millar, 12.05.2011

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