Last month, the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux toured in Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles showcasing the 2015 vintage. However, it’s unclear whether the trade tasting contributed to vintage sales.
Lewis Kopman of Le Dû’s Wines in New York said they hadn’t purchased wine based on the event, but the store attended because it gave them an idea of what regions and appellations they’re going to be interested in this year.
Owner and import buyer Jim Knight of The Wine House, a Los Angeles shop with annual sales around $22 million, started importing directly from Bordeaux in 2011.
“The last five or six years just on the West Coast we lost so much distribution (of) Bordeaux because everybody stopped importing it, because no one was making any money on it,” he said. Knight didn’t go to the tour, because he was feeling sick and had already tasted the 2015.
It is important for his business to keep Bordeaux collectors happy, but to do so, “I had to go directly to négociants in Bordeaux because I need first and second growths,” Knight said. “Otherwise, I’d lose those clients to the East Coast.”
René Averseng, president of Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, said he didn’t attend because, “if there was an interest in the 2015 from my clients I would have attended; right now, there is no demand for the 2015.”
Olivier Bernard, the Union’s president, said the region has been active in promoting the reputation of its wine by going to the retailers whether they be in the United States, Canada or Europe.
“I don’t know any organization in the world doing what we do in (the) wine trade,” Bernard said. Some 94 producers attended the New York event, up from 89 last year.
Henri Oh, general manager of the Los Angeles Wine Company, a shop that sells between $70,000 and $80,000 weekly, did attend the Los Angeles event. He said, “it was comfortable. There were a lot of people there, but it wasn’t elbow to elbow.”
Oh added that he went to “have a chance to try some of these 2015’s, so when it comes down to ordering some of these wines we have a mental note of what we like and can negotiate the best pricing that we can.”