The en primeur process has been around for centuries; however, this does not necessarily mean that it is still a viable institution. Many commentators believe the process to be both flawed and outdated, yet despite widely publicised negativity, no one seems to offer anything to replace it which would benefit both consumers and producers.
The major issue is that many of the châteaux are not prepared to sell their own wine which is why they use negociants. However, if châteaux work on this issue, they could vastly improve their distribution channels. Many producers don’t even benefit from the high prices charged for their wines on the secondary markets, and have become aggrieved by the lost revenue.
En primeur has become an outdated system, one which has created an air of elitism around Bordeaux and one which has become a huge area for debate in the industry. With many people within the industry turning against the process and questioning its benefit for the consumer, it is hard to see a change not occurring. It has also become too overpriced to remain a viable option for investors, leaving a surplus to required wine. If this happens, producers will have no choice but to accept they need to find new methods of sale, one which gives them the continued capital they require, but offers the best deal for the end consumer.
One big problem with changing the process is that despite a constant stream of objections to the process, no one has been able to find a suitable replacement to the method, if indeed there is one at all. Without the producers improving their network of distribution and exploring new channels, such as the internet, while investing in marketing campaigns it is unlikely they will accept any push for a change.