Can Bordeaux Woo Back Americans?

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wine-bordeauz-americanArticle re-published from wine-searcher.com

Bordeaux hopes to woo back the US market, thanks, in part, to the strength of the dollar against the euro.

Anthony Moses, managing director of Twins, a leading negociant for the US, selling some €15 million of Bordeaux, told Wine Searcher that the US is again buying Bordeaux with enthusiasm, in part because of the favorable exchange rate. Since May 2014, the euro’s value has fallen from $1.39 to $1.07, a 23 percent fall.  As a result, Moses reported that the last three months “have been our best ever, with sales in the US doubling.”

The Asian market’s slide has seen Bordeaux desperate to attract back US customers. Château Mouton-Rothschild finance director Hervé Gouin told Wine Searcher in January “we took our focus off the U.S; now we need… to explain that Bordeaux has to be drunk, that it’s not just for collections and for investment.”

Similarly, Stéphanie de Boüard of Château Angelus said: “The attraction hasn’t been so strong over the last five years but we are putting a lot of emphasis on the US now.”

Moses claimed that he was “very optimistic” one of his biggest clients, the US supermarket Costco, would be a key purchaser of “classic drinking wines” in the $45-$60 bracket.

Although Wine Searcher was unable to reach Costco for comment, another major US merchant expressed skepticism about the upcoming campaign.

Mark Wessels of Washington DC-based MacArthur Beverages said he is doubtful that buying the 2014 vintage en primeur would be attractive to US merchants and consumers.

“Château owners have consistently shown me and my clients that there is no advantage to buying en primeur – the price does not go up and it may even go down,” he said.

“Why should I give my money to château owners now, and my client give his money to me, if we can buy the wine on release at the same price or less? There is only one real reason for the wine to be the same price on release as en primeur – and that is if the price was too high en primeur.”

He added: “The price must not be more than 2012… the price was wrong at the time and for some 2012s the price is still wrong today.”