Ill wind & rain sweeps through French vineyards

Under the weather

France may be our competition in markets around the world but it’s sad to see inclement weather hitting several French regions and depleting the coming vintage. Overall it’s predicted the vintage will be down about 8 per cent. Champagne looks to have been badly hit, with estimates saying it will be about 30 per cent down. Burgundy is expected to come in 23 per cent down on last year. The Loire forecast is a drop of more than 30 per cent but Bordeaux appears less affected.

Also down are prices of Bordeaux wines from the 2008 vintage. An article on Wine-Searcher on July 23 followed the fortunes of the Bordeaux Premier Grand Cru 2008 vintage. Some extracts:

“It started well. The 2008 First Growths shot out of the gate at the en primeur campaign, offering startlingly good value. Latour, Lafite and Margaux all released at US$146 [$195.36] a bottle. Mouton was 10 per cent cheaper and Haut-Brion was on its own in charging a 20 per cent premium.”

“Then the secondary market kicked in and things went weird, especially for Lafite. Robert Parker gave the Lafite a score of 98 and prices went north. By April 2011, two years after the en primeur campaign, the average price of Lafite on Wine-Searcher had grown to US$2134 a bottle, an almost 15-fold increase.

“The other First Growths had also appreciated in value over the same period, although not as spectacularly. By April 2011, Château Latour had climbed to an average price of $1257 a bottle, while Mouton had nudged the $1150 mark. Margaux peaked at $836, while Haut-Brion maxed out in July 2011 at $723.”

Jumping to the end: in May this year Lafite hit a low of US$822 and Haut-Brion was down to US$426. Mouton had peaked at US$1147 a bottle in April 2011 but dropped to US$515 a bottle in November 2015. Latour reached a high of US$1257 in April 2011 and fell to US$598 in March this year. In April 2011 Château Margaux was US$836 but only fetched US$474 in February this year.


Rumours are stronger senior parent CHAMP Private Equity is ready to sell or float Accolade Wines. According to a short report in the Financial Review, CHAMP has hired Jeremy Stevenson, general counsel at Accolade, to be “internal general counsel focused on risk and corporate governance in the firm and its portfolio companies”.  We are expecting action soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *