Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Primer on en Primeur or Wine Futures

Conventionally, wines are purchased by the bottle – or by the glass, depending on where it is bought. There is an option, though, for consumers, wholesale buyers, and enthusiasts to buy wine that has not been bottled yet. It is known as wine futures and referred to as en primeur by French winemakers.

Image source: voices.whitman.syr.edu
Once the wine has been produced, it will be aged for six to eight months in a barrel, the culmination of which is usually in the spring time. Tasting experts, the most notable of which are Robert Parker (one of my favorite wine critics) and James Molesworth, then take a sample of the drink, evaluate it, and establish a barrel score.

The barrel score is critical in determining how much percentage of the wine should be sold in en primeur form and at what price the wine should be sold.

After this process, willing buyers would then “invest” in the wine futures because they would only be able to receive the bottled wine one to two years – depending on how long the wine is needed to be matured – after the payment is given.

Futures buyers have various reasons for purchasing such wine, but the two common motivations for getting on in the action are the opportunities to get a hold of a potentially rare wine and to obtain a delicious wine for a bargain.

Image source: cobosocial.com
Bennett J. Kireker worked as a wine salesman for Auckland, New Zealand-based United Cellars. After his stint there, he went to New York City where he started a wine tasting club. For more discussions about wine, visit this Twitter page.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How Foremost Wine Critic Robert Parker Changed the Wine Industry

Robert Parker started out with a simple ambition: to write a wine guidebook without any of the perceived conflicts of interest present in other wine critics who also sell wines. His philosophy was to make wine criticism consumer-oriented. This was in 1975, a time when he was making a living as a bank counsel.

Image source: telegraph.co.uk
In 1978, he published “The Baltimore-Washington Wine Advocate,” which later on will be renamed simply as “The Wine Advocate.” Nowadays, the newsletter is considered the most influential publication on wines by many enthusiasts, wine lovers, and buyers all over the world, and it directly influences the way wines are priced.

Parker is best known as a Bordeaux expert, and his fame began when he praised the 1982 vintage in Bordeaux, an opinion contrary to that of other critics at the time. This has driven up the price and reputation of the said vintage.

But what really changed the industry is his 100-point rating system, a scale that ranks wine from 50 to 100 points based on the color and appearance, aroma and bouquet, flavor and finish, and overall quality level or potential. While a lot of criticism and controversy surround this system, it is nonetheless followed or imitated by other prominent wine reviewers in the world.

Food critics, business writers, and wine connoisseurs will offer mixed impressions of the uniquely successful, but often arrogant Parker. No one can deny that Parker is the most powerful and influential wine critic living. Some call his palate the world’s most-prized. In fact, his nose and palate are insured for $1 million.

Even more amazing is how Parker got his start. Who would have thought that a visit to eastern France to his then girlfriend and now wife would eventually be the precipitous to his current success and worldwide recognition? Today, “Parkerization” is a by-word in the wine industry.

Image source: wine-searcher.com
Bennett J. Kireker is highly passionate about wines. He runs Wine Club NYC which has grown to 50-strong member since its establishment in 2013. For more wine insights, follow this Twitter page.