En Primeur, the system whereby top-quality wine can be pre-purchased, has been around for thousands of years. Records suggest the practice dates back to the 3rd Century BC. However, the modern systems we enjoy today have moved from the realms of necessity for the Chateaux to a much more dynamic and vibrant affair.

What follows are some FAQs we hope to answer to prepare you for the coming year’s En Primeur Campaign.

What is En Primeur?

En Primeur is a French term for ‘Wine Futures’. This refers to the process of purchasing wine while it is still in barrel, before it has been bottled. The Bordeaux E.P Campaigns take place during the first summer after the harvest.

After a maturation period in barrel, the Chateaux bottles the wine, typically in – but not restricted to – formats of 3, 6 and 12. Most other major growing regions use this same format, though this approach originated primarily from the Bordeaux region,

The cases are then delivered around 2-3 years after the vintage, with the weather tending to guide the exact timing.

How does En Primeur work?

    1. The Bordeaux Campaigns typically begin in May with Chateau releases spread across 10 or so weeks. The estates do not abide by a schedule; in fact, the more prestigious labels tend to delay their release dates to ensure the best possible pricing against their competitors. As such the Campaigns tend to move in fits and starts of frenetic activity. Most merchants employ a first-come-first-serve sales approach, so an early awareness of the Campaigns’ progression is key.
    2. Wines are purchased In-Bond through negociants in Bordeaux, exclusive of VAT and Duty. The wine remains at the estates in Bordeaux in barrel until bottling (typically 18 months to 2 years after the harvest). It is at this point it is ready to be shipped to the UK.
    3. As the wine is In-Bond, it can be seamlessly transferred into your storage account with BiBO at Vinotheque. Once the wine has arrived and is condition checked by our dedicated operative, you will be notified. You can then decide whether you would like to store your wine or have it delivered to you.

What are the benefits of buying wine En Primeur?

    • Best value for money: Buying wines at En Primeur will usually provide you with the best value for money. It is almost always the best possible entry price for the wine. Once the wine is physical, those that missed out tend to do their utmost to secure a case driving the price on.
    • Provenance: Buying In-Bond En Primeur wine comes with not only the benefit of deferring tax payments at the point of purchase, but the comfort of knowing that your wines came directly from the Chateau. Having had no other previous owners, you know the wine’s condition and provenance is perfect. This remains as equally important if you come to sell your wines on.
    • Availability: Due to the incredibly small amount of wines released every year by producers, buying En Primeur is usually the most efficient way to secure wine. Once again it should be noted, wines are distributed at speed and when they are gone, they are gone. An awareness of this is paramount to E.P success, as the only other opportunity for the same wines will be on a secondary market basis.
    • Youth: En Primeur is the process of buying wine before it is even bottled, ensuring you access at the very earliest point. This provides you with the potential to capture the entirety of the major increases in the wine’s value.

How much is En Primeur wine?

The prices of the wine tend to fluctuate based on the quality of the vintage and producer you wish to acquire. As such once harvest reports are published and critics begin to assess the wines we can make estimations on the price that tend to be accurate.

On average, you will receive a better price for your wine if you buy En Primeur, compared to buying after market release. As En Primeur is exclusive of VAT and Duty, this is another cost you won’t need to pay unless you wish to have your wines delivered once it has arrived safely with us. What’s more, BiBO will cover all shipping charges from France to the UK, so you can rest assured we are providing you with the best possible price.

Are there any additional charges?

BiBO covers any additional charges that are concerned with the acquisitions logistical process. However, once you are ready to withdraw your wine from UK storage for delivery to a private address – or in other words, take it out of bond – you will be required to pay the VAT and duty of your wine. You will not be charged for storage while the wine is in France and thereby not physical. However, once the wine has been delivered to our account in the UK, unless otherwise specified, BiBO will store your wine for a fee. You can also request for your wine to be transferred to another storage account. Insurance is not automatically applied, this is left to the customer’s discretion but should you wish we can provide this service.

How much is wine duty?

£2.23 per 75cl bottle of still wine.

£2.86 per 75cl bottle of sparkling wine.

UK VAT = 20% of the cost of the wine, inclusive of Duty.

*Rates are subject to change by the government at any time.

Can I store En Primeur wine in bond?

All En Primeur purchases are exclusive of duty and will be ‘in bond’ at the point of entry into the UK. It is then your decision whether you would like to continue storing your wine in bond, or whether you would like to pay the duty, and/or have it delivered to you.

What does ‘in bond’ mean?

In Bond (IB) is when the duty on your wine has yet to be paid. In this instance, a government-approved bonded warehouse must store your wine for you. Click here to find out more.

What about insurance for En Primeur purchases?

It is typical practice for the merchant sourcing your wine to insure the futures contract. This is to invoice value and applicable until it is physical and becomes the purchaser’s property. From this point – upon request – BiBO can provide a very competitive in-house storage and insurance model that we encourage our customers to use.

When are En Primeur wines shipped to the UK?

Delivery of En Primeur wines usually takes place 2-3 years after the vintage. However, it is the producer at the Chateau who decides upon this ultimately.

What happens once the wine arrives in the UK?

When your wine arrives in the UK, it will be delivered to London City Bond’s bonded warehouse, Vinotheque. Once checked over by our dedicated team, we will contact you to decide where you would like your wine to be stored or delivered.

Are there any risks when buying En Primeur?

As is typically the case, buying a product ahead of its physical delivery will always be accompanied by an element of risk. We recommend that you undertake some research on the merchant with whom you’ll be sourcing your wine. Using a trusted wine merchant, such as BiBO, will limit the risk involved with buying En Primeur. If you would like to speak to one of our experts about potential risks, please do get in touch. For more information on wine scams, check out this article on how to avoid them.

When do I pay for En Primeur wine?

We will invoice you for the stock once we secure the allocation. If you make multiple En Primeur purchases, then we can form an agreement to amalgamate the stock onto one invoice.

Why should you buy En Primeur wine through BiBO?

Not only do we guarantee that our clients are able to buy En Primeur at the lowest possible price, but we will also provide guidance with every step of the way. Ensuring a personalised service, we provide each of our customers a uniquely tailored experience. What’s more – unlike other merchants we do not tie stock together; you will not have to take lower grade stock in a parcel with the most sought after items.

What En Primeur regions does BiBO cover?

Currently, we cover the Bordeaux region exclusively.

How do I buy En Primeur wine?

To buy En Primeur with us, please get in touch via our contact page, or alternatively call us at +44 (0) 20 4579 1092.

Who receives En Primeur offers?

We do not charge for access to our En Primeur offers. We encourage everyone who loves fine wine to get involved each year. If you would like to find out more about this year’s campaign, register your interest below.