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En primeur price rises expected, Liv-ex warns – but will this dampen demand?

More than three quarters of international wine merchants are expecting prices for this year’s en primeur campaign to be higher than last year, a new Liv-ex report has warned, with demand also likely to be higher, providing prices are “reasonable”.

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The survey, which was conducted before the release of the first chateau on 9 May, showed that although merchants expected ex-négociant release prices to be around 7.7% higher on average than last year, and 4.9% higher than 2020, more than three quarters (77%) also predicted demand would be higher this year than last.

The increase in demand was likely partly due to last year’s “pretty dreadful” harvest which was “very poor for en primeur sales”, and the widely anticipated stronger vintage had whetted the appetite of customers.

However almost all merchants surveyed said that demand would “very much depend on prices”. One merchant noted that there was a “disconnect between release pricing and what the consumer is happy to pay due to the economic realities”, while another noted that the current economy may lead to less purchasing.

One merchant also pointed out that hard prices were “hard to justify to customers when 2019 was cheaper and outstanding”, however, there was a “general sense amongst the trade that certain châteaux have become increasingly popular in recent campaigns due to their successful release pricing”, Liv-ex noted, with these chateaux becoming “strong sellers every year”.

In terms of where this vintage sits amongst its peers, the report noted that the scores awarded by Liv-ex members clocked up to an average of 96.2 points, making it one of the highest-scoring vintage since the surveys began in 2007 (although due to Covid restrictions in place at the time, the 2019 and 2020 vintages went unsurveyed). This was  followed by the 2010 and 2009, but opinion was divided as to which vintage it most closely resembled. A quarter said it was unlike any other vintages, while a smaller number cited the 2018, 2016 and 2010, with the 2020 and the 2005 also mentioned by a small number of trade members.

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The accolade wine of the vintages was given to Château Cheval Blanc, while Château Brane Cantenac topped the list of estates offering value for money. Saint-Émilion was also regarded as the most impressive Bordeaux region in  2022.


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