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Why buy en primeur?

I buy EP mostly because it appeals to the inveterate planer in me (the one trait I share with my otherwise completely different siblings).Based on current CT data I have around 15 years worth of stock, but probably more realistically 25 years of fine wines requiring ageing. So it’s a gentle downward curve now and a potential test of both my and the wines longevity.

It is also still the way to secure certain wines that either escalate wildly in price after release - if they are indeed even available. This is particularly true of Piedmont, where if I wanted to buy some of the wines I already own now I’d have to develop significantly deeper pockets. And as an aside, I also buy EP direct from Domaine Cauhape because they offer a (ISTR) 25% discount, so it’s a definite saving on even cellar door pricing.

So there’s still a role for it, though interestingly it makes the least sense with it’s inventor, Bordeaux because of the vast quantities available.

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I’m not. I started in the 1970s when it was very simple, just Bordeaux and vintage Port. I decided to stop a few years ago.

There doesn’t seem to be any price advantage any longer,
I no longer want to get into long-term contracts not knowing what the duty rate will be when I pay it,
I want to be more flexible with my purchases in terms of region, vintage, price etc.,
I am not a collector so even though I enjoy certain producers, certain wines, I can go without them for a few years quite happily,
I have got very suspicious that EP is now a better deal for the retailer than the customer, great for cash flow, customer locked in to future purchase, possibility of selling years of storage charges etc.,
As I get older I need to be reducing stock not creating more long-term reserves,
A particular annoyance with TWS is the algorithm, I hate it and cannot understand why TWS doesn’t just ration certain wines and then sell them first come first served. I’m so glad to no longer be at the mercy of the algorithm!

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I know I have been very critical of the ‘hit and hope’ style of TWS EP campaigns but I do seriously consider that selling wine ahead of bottling has become critically depleted by the sheer number of offers available these days. It is almost as if ‘selling’ has become more crucial than ‘merchanting’ (not a word I know, sorry!).
Personally, now I’m the wrong side of 70, I most probably have enough wine in my cellar to keep me going, topped up with inexpensive day-to-day drinking wines (from TWS and other sources) and am only inclined to purchase x3’s of wines that I feel I would like to drink.
What is interesting, reading some of the comments here on TWS by its younger members, I can see myself (in the 1980’s) in many of their decisions/aspirations etc. So the circle continues.

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I’m over 60 and still buy EP at the cheaper end, BUT I’m not looking for anything that has a distant start date for a drinking window.

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I have just seen the thread on reserves pricing and the change was news to me.
Perhaps I wasn’t sent notice by TWS as I no longer have any wine in reserves but it is a reminder that buying en primeur makes the buyer vulnerable not just to duty rate changes but also to increases (including doubling for half-bottles) in storage charges.

Buying DPD (duty paid and delivered) guarantees me a price and service for a known product albeit that I have to store it until its consumption.

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Why buy en Primeur? At the weekend I had a bottle of 1995 Chateau Lafite. It had cost me £50 EP (A mixed case of the five first growths and Ch. Cheval Blanc for £300.) All told, with duty, VAT, and several years storage, it cost me £68.30. Still a lot of money, but… '95 Lafite!!! And yes, it was bloody lovely, thanks for asking.
Why newbies shouldn’t buy en primeur? Remember the music you were listening to ten years ago? What was your favourite album back then? Still listen to it? Thought not. Tastes change. The Society’s new “Members Reserves” warehouse will be storing a fair amount of buyer’s remorse, some in my name…

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exactly that

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The key in my point is that TWS ration those in-demand wines.
They know the expected demand, they know how many they have on sale, and they can ration down to one bottle per person.
Granted some people will still miss out but that should make sales last far longer than a day.

I buy all my opera and theatre tickets on a first come first served basis and so do people of all professions. They don’t ask for an algorithm to share these tickets out.

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2 thoughts from me on this:

  1. Some people (and I am one of them) would rather have 6 (or at minimum 3) bottles of a wine and none of the other 5 I quite fancied, than a single bottle of each of them. Having several bottles means you can get to know a wine better. There are so many wines out there I’d like to drink that missing out on some while getting a good allocation of a few is fine.

  2. You can buy EP on a first come, first served basis from other merchants but who else does it TWS’s way? If TWS change, will that mean those who liked their approach simply won’t have the option anymore? Those who don’t like their approach can just buy through other merchants instead.

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The opera company probably isn’t a co-operative.

Also, opera and theatre companies will often have ‘friends’ or patrons who gain early access to tickets, for a fee.

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There are quite a few theatres/productions that run lotteries or other processes to allocate tickets too (e.g. Hamilton) which isn’t a million miles away from the approach TWS takes with the algorithm.

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The algorithm came about after Bordeaux 2000 EP when someone was spending £100,000 upwards. You did that for a theatre or opera performance you would need to bring a few friends along ……or sell them on as I suspect the person buying the 2000 EP wine did.

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Well said. It’s like bonsai, best to start 30 years ago!.

So, what happens if you do die? Mallams auctioneers in Oxford rarely have wine but about a year ago a big batch appeared in a sale. I thought, great, here’s my chance for a bargain as this sale might pass below the radar of the wine crowd. Unfortunately not. However, I did get a case of 12 Lynch Bages 2005 for £1200. After they added the exorbitant commission I payed more or less market value. Anyway, the point is that when I got it home, I saw that it had come from the WS member’s reserve. Some poor b****** had popped their clogs before they had a chance to enjoy.

The WS are currently offering a CRL with a drinking window out to 2050. If I’m still on the right side of the grass, I’ll be having the drool wiped off my face by a nurse!

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PS, I’ve been trying to chug down those 12 bottles before the heat ruins them. There is a limit to how much of a good thing you can stand all at once. :upside_down_face:

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Too flamin’ right. When I see a drinking window in the 2040’s + I know that’s a future I’m not gonna be in. One day I’ll need to count up the numbers in my collection, do the math, and get depressed.

Where’s that last testimony and Will… ?

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The irony is that the more you ‘enjoy’ wine the less likely you are to reach the drinking window.

“What a piece of work is a man? In form and moving how express and admirable, in action, how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god…”

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This goes back to the whole argument that it would be fantastic to have a trading/exchange system amongst members that would see excess inventories go to a good home at a reasonable/fair price.

This has been discussed elsewhere and seems to have a 50:50 spread of backers/opposes.

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When!

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:rofl:
Quite right, when.

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I imagine ones ‘estate’ gets the wine… always assuming the estate knows said wine exists.

The enjoyment of which, will give ‘life after death’ - a nice thought.

My bottle of 25 y/o Springbank however, will be written into my will to be consumed at my funeral. Folk might as well enjoy the occasion!

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