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BBR hits Burgundy campaign trail

Burgundy may be rocking the auction world in Hong Kong and exciting interest in Asia, but its core customers remain closer to home for Berry Bros, explains sales director Jake Dean.

Jake Dean – UK sales director Berry Bros & Rudd

With its 2013 Burgundy offer, Berry Bros. & Rudd has been on a sales drive in Hong Kong. “I often tell my clients that the biggest advantage of buying wine futures is the value for money,” said the firm’s Hong Kong sales director, Adam Bibey, “We have been experts in wine futures for over 30 years and can help budding investors or those who would simply like to lay down some good wine for an occasion in the future.” Berry’s Burgundy buyer, Jasper Morris MW, was also on hand to give advice.

However Britain remains Berry’s key market for the region as sales director, Jake Dean explained. “The majority of our sales are UK-based and very much to traditional followers of Burgundy. I suspect Asia does drive some demand, but unsurprisingly the focus there is more about high-profile producers rather than the core of top Burgundy domains.”

“There has been an increased interest in the investment side and that does affect Burgundy, but people buy it predominantly for drinking purposes,” Dean continued, adding that: “the key for buying en primeur is that you get to secure the stocks that you want as there’s very little secondary market for most Burgundy.” As for Bibey’s value for money argument that has been somewhat shattered by recent Bordeaux campaigns, he insisted it still holds true for Burgundy.

He felt 2013 had been well priced. “My concerns lay with experience of Bordeaux, but Burgundian producers have clearly acknowledged that and I was very pleased to see lower pricing this year.” Despite being a challenging vintage with some producers devastated by hail, he said: “Our offer was upwards of 500 wines this year, and we’ve sold nearly 10,000 cases. It’s an incredible volume on the back of four strong Burgundy campaigns.”

As to whether Bordeaux might follow the sensible pricing of its Burgundian cousin, Dean refused to be drawn. “I would not like to suggest how the Bordelaise think – it’s been increasingly difficult to do so in recent years.”

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