Sometimes the wine world seems baffling. Take the term “en primeur” for example.
Every year, for weeks and months (and getting longer), the wine world is abuzz with the “campaign” to sell Bordeaux from the latest vintage. A small selection of wineries from the world’s most famous wine region generate massive enthusiasm for wines that only a handful of “experts” have ever tried, selling them years before they will be bottled and leave the winery, and for figures that make bankers weep for the fact their bonuses simply aren’t big enough.
It seems very odd.
Many point to this complex, elitist and expensive system to demonstrate how out of touch the wine world has become.
Yet, today I find myself in the middle of a series of other “en primeur” campaigns.
Apple is the master at this game. In the last few weeks we have seen the “pre-order” frenzy for both iPads and the iPhone 4. These are products only a handful of “experts” have ever tried, being sold to consumers days or weeks before they will be shipped, and for figures that certainly make YOUR bank manager raise her eyebrows.
This is all stage-managed to generate excitement, the illusion of scarcity, the social value of one-upmanship and the insatiable demand for innovation.
Maybe it is the rest of the wine world that is out of touch? We all like a bit of showmanship and prestidigitation from time to time, … don’t we!?