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Bordeaux Trade Structure

Bordeaux trade structure:
With nearly 11,000 wine producers, approaching 150 brokers, over 50 co-operatives and 400 negociants, the Bordeaux wine market is a key employer; it employs one-in-six of the working population living near the Gironde. Whilst the region is famous for its grand chateaux, of which there are over five-hundred, not all wine producers own chateaux. The Bordeaux’s reliance on courtiers and negociants makes its way of working unique within the wine business.

Producers are responsible for approximately 850,000,000 bottles of wine a year. Of these, 60 per cent make wines on their own premises (accounting for 75 per cent of all wine produced). The balance is then processed and marketed by the region’s co-operatives.

Co-operatives offer vinification, blending and boxing facilities to their members.

The broker or “courtier” acts as a middle-man between the producers and the negociants, carefully weighing up supply and demand. They advise and mediate between the two parties. They also act as guarantors to the supply contracts and carefully monitor the quality of wine through its maturation period, thereby ensuring the end-product corresponds to the buying samples. Brokers are paid by commission (“courtage”), which is usually set at 2%.

• A negociant is a merchant house, selling wines produced at estates or commercial brands. The latter is acquired from co-operatives or individual producers, usually as wine, and them matured by the negociant prior to blending, bottling and finally sale. There are approaching four-hundred registered negociants, though 90 per cent of all business is accounted for by a mere twenty-five firms. This sector is tasked with the selling of three-quarters of all Bordeaux’s production to more than 160 different countries across the globe.

 

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