The Players in the En Primeur System

Previous posts have discussed Bordeaux’s en primeur history and how the en primeur system works. Today, we’ll talk about the major players involved in the trade.

Sometime between May and July, the Bordeaux chateaux release their prices and allow wine merchants to buy their future wines. However, not just any wine merchant can buy these wines directly from the estates. Only those with a license and who are registered within the Gironde area can do so.

These 400 wine merchants or “negociants” as they are called in France, collectively form the Bordeaux marketplace, known as the “Place de Bordeaux.” These negociants represent the estate owners in promoting and distributing the wines all over the world. Here’s a quick list of who is involved in the purchase of grand cru classe Bordeaux wines.

  • Estates – Produce the wine and set prices.
  • Negociants – The 400 wine merchants licensed and registered within the Gironde area who buy wine from estates.
  • Courtiers – Act as an intermediary for estates and negociants and handle the paperwork of the wine transactions.
  • Wine merchants – Any wine merchant outside of the Gironde area must buy wine directly from a negociant.
  • Consumer – The end wine drinker who purchases from a wine merchant and enjoys the wine.

Our parent company, Millesima SA is one of the 400 Bordeaux negociants, and the 5th largest buyer of grand cru classe wines.

Join the discussion: Have questions or comments about the Bordeaux En Primeur system? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.
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