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JN Wine Blog

What Is En Primeur

Effectively this is wine futures, the opportunity to purchase wine whilst it is still in cask, about two years before it is bottled. Unfortunately it is a somewhat complex concept, though it is potentially one of the most economic ways to build a cellar.

Buying En Primeur is a long-term option; wines often do not reach our shores for several years after purchase. For example, 2007 Bordeaux wines offered En Primeur in June 2008 are not due to arrive in this country until the spring of 2010. When the wine arrives, the duty and VAT are applied (at the prevailing rates at the time of arrival) before the wine can be released from bond, which should be considered when purchasing your wine. VAT is calculated as a percentage of the wine and applicable duty, whereas duty is a fixed amount per case of twelve 750ml bottles regardless of the value of the wine. Current VAT and duty rates (as at March 2010) are as follows:


  • VAT 20%
  • Duty £24.60 per case

Republic of Ireland:

  • VAT 23%
  • Duty €38.24 per case

We run our En Primeur campaign around June each year. Jim Nicholson began his annual pilgrimages to Bordeaux in 1983 and has established relationships with many of the best Chateaux, who offer wines to us on an allocation basis. Every Chateau will keep their wines in cask for a different period of time, and this will vary from year to year. This in turn means that the wine we receive is a handcrafted product and each vintage expresses the characteristics of the year. After an extensive tasting session of the clarets from cask, only the best wines are shipped.
We also offer wine futures from the Rhone Valley, Rioja and California.

How do En Primeur offers work?

Demand for En Primeur wines is often extremely high and quantities are very limited; therefore orders placed via are treated as allocation requests only and availability will be confirmed by telephone or e-mail prior to arranging payment. Sending the enquiry does not constitute a financial transaction of any kind.

Upon confirmation and payment of your order, we send you a letter of ownership and an invoice marked paid. We subsequently contact you when the wine is shipped to advise you of the VAT and duty payable in order to release the wine from bond, and arrange delivery accordingly.