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What does buying wine 'En Primeur' mean?

By Rob Chase, also posted in News on

[caption id="attachment_9418" align="alignleft" width="190" caption="Fine Wine Manager Rob Chase enjoying a glass of Bordeaux on Southwold beach"]Fine Wine Manager Rob Chase enjoys a glass of Bordeaux on Southwold beach[/caption] Rob Chase, Adnams Fine Wine Manager, explains. For those of you who have not yet dared, or considered, dipping your toe into this particular puddle, purchasing wine En Primeur might sound like stepping into space, but the concept is pretty simple and straight forward. The Californians call En Primeur, ‘Futures’, which in a way sums up more succinctly what this method of buying wine is all about.

How does it work?

You buy the wine only, ahead of its release, and pay the Duty (currently £21.71 a dozen) and VAT on the original cost of the wine when it is eventually shipped. You are effectively buying the wine in cask, where it may mature for, maybe 12, 18 or even 24 months, before we ship it. We will have tasted it at some point in its evolution, and will be 100% confident in its future potential.

Why buy wine before it goes on general release?

Wine maturing in barrelsIn sought-after vintages, or where wines are in short supply, paying for the wine early guarantees you get your wine. En Primeur also guarantees you the best price; we don’t factor in any storage or retail margin into the cost of the wine. When it comes in, we charge you Duty and VAT and then deliver it to your door. Job done. (We do have to charge you delivery, too, but on the scale of things, this isn’t very much!) If you had an 'under bond' account, we would transfer your wine to your allotted 'bonded' warehouse, and there would be no Duty or VAT to pay, until you removed it from bond. (You would have to pay their annual storage charges (about £10 - £12 per case per annum). When you take your wine out of bond, you are then liable to pay the prevailing rate of Duty and VAT. (If you decide to sell your investment to a third party, they would normally be liable to pay these taxes). Buying En Primeur will also mean that your wine has the perfect provenance, and hasn’t sat around in someone’s warehouse for a couple of years, being shunted around suffering the indignities of fluctuating temperatures. This, more than anything, affects the quality of your wine. Should you decide to sell your En Primeur purchases somewhere down the line, the wine’s provenance is all important.

Do I have to buy 12 bottles?

Not any more. Most wines are packed in 6s, so it is possible to buy a half case. A couple of examples: En Primeur1.    You buy a case of 6 bottles of 2010 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape at £168. You would pay a further £46.63 Duty and VAT when the wine is shipped in the Autumn 2012. i.e. the cost of the wine (£168) with Duty £10.86 and VAT on the original cost (and Duty) = £214.63. Deduct the original price of the wine, and you will owe £46.63. 2.    You buy 12 bottles of 2009 Domaine de la Bongran, Mâcon, at £135. You would pay a further £53.05 Duty and VAT when the wine is shipped in 2013. i.e. the cost of the wine (£135) with Duty £21.71 and VAT on the original cost (and Duty) = £188.05. Deduct the original price of the wine, and you will owe £53.05. If this all makes sense, take a look at some of our current En Primeur Offers on our website, or email rob.chase@adnams.co.uk

Southwold Storage Facility

We are able to offer Duty Paid storage facilities for customers’ En Primeur wines in Southwold. Please ask the Adnams call center team on 01502 727222, or send me an email, for details.

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Rob Chase

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