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Best chateau wines had not been consumed by French, in fact, they were preserves of different northern European countries. Hence, foreign merchants were having obvious advantage over the French counterparts. In spring, yearly, the négociants collected delivery of the young wines in cask from different chateaux as well as matured them in cellars before shipping. Therefore, they were responsible for their upbringing or élevageand were known as négociants-éleveurs, who eventually became middlemen present in all aspects of wine trading. Several foreign purchasers found it much convenient to dealing through négociantas compared to dealing directly with producers of wine and they often had no options because a huge count of chateaux had been owned by or exclusively were of specific négociant.

 

Modern Bordeaux wine trading

Bordeaux Wine RegionPerhaps it was inevitable that historically potent as well as family run négociant-éleveur firms eventually would become spent force. They were lacking resources needed for financing adequately considerable increase in demand in 1960s for Bordeaux and the ones who didn’t founded at the time of oil crisis of early till mid-1970s were falling prey to economic depressions of the following 2 decades.

The old proud firms had been over taken or they became bankrupt, hence power shifted from chateaux to négociants and for coping with the boom in the world markets, several properties of Bordeaux either expanded their vineyards or included shiny, large new fermentation facilities. Several of these projects had been financed through bank loans because interest rates were quiet low. As interest rates increased and sales slumped, repayments turned out to be unbearable. Consequently, apart from some entrepreneurial owners, power shifted to investors from chateaux- not just banks but pension funds, insurance groups, and the like also. In today’s market, négoceis have lesser influence than before because their élevage role is mainly restricted to the branded wines. Moreover, huge counts of chateau owners are carving out small empires, to develop négociant business of their own or collect estates.

 

Read more about Bordeaux wine classification...

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