Black Box Pricing Stuffs Up Chateaux


Back in my old life in finance there was a “thing” called the black box. This has nothing to do with the recording devices on planes. This is an idea generator that secretive hedge funds would use. It’s the way they processed the info around them and then came out with trade ideas, but no one knew how the bloody hell they got to that conclusion. Well in Bordeaux right now, the Chateaux are pricing up the 2016 vintage, which is a big thing for the wine merchants and investors round the world. And once again, no one knows how the hell they’re coming out with them!

Sell it cheaper, sell more!

I read Chris Mercer’s article in Decanter about it. He referenced Liv-Ex, and their view that pricing the wines too high has lead to huge opportunity losses by the Chateaux. What that means is that if you price it a bit cheaper, then more people flood in to buy, and you end up making more money in the end. And that’s very bloody true.

Think of us poor Brits

The article goes on to chat to BI (Bordeaux Index), which is based in the UK. Now here we have this GBP issue where by even if the prices are the “same” as last year, they’re still 15-20% more expensive for us Brits. Now I sell bits and pieces of wine En Primeur to private clients of 20h33 in the UK, and I’m struggling to know what to say to them. But then, let’s be fair, it’s not the Chateaux’s fault that the GBP is weak is it?

Hold your horses

The daftest thing is that no-one’s really had a good go at tasting the wines yet. One or two here and there sure, but Primeur Week, which is the week where the world’s press head down to Bordeaux to taste en masse, isn’t on til next week. So this black box pricing that’s already started is going to get the world’s wine press’ backs up a little bit before they’ve even started. Just daft.

Tried and tested

So same thing as every year for me, buy a couple of cases from my favourite Chateaux and ignore the rest of the bullshit. Seems to work well enough.


5 thoughts on “Black Box Pricing Stuffs Up Chateaux”

  1. Agreed on the ‘usual stuff’ approach. Sometimes for me it’s splitting hairs on vintages. Not to mention my limited palate. And, since I buy to drink it – not celebrate my investment wisdom and admire my stash, I don’t care too much about what the ‘press’ says about each Chateau. I get the same chateaux each year. Unless, there’s an absolute consensus that the whole vintage is crap.

  2. Interesting. I know the 2015 vintage prices have risen 15-20% over 2014. Pessac-Leognan has seen some Chateaux increase the price on 15’s as much as 37%. Are the 2016 price increases in addition to the 2016 price increases? They better be careful not to price customers out of the market.

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