One of the many benefits of living in France is the vast range of quality, reasonably priced wines available in most supermarkets, but you could save even more by cutting out the middleman.
Here are some tips to save money on buying quality French wine.
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Visit smaller vineyards
If you are fortunate enough to live in a wine-producing region, or fancy a weekend away, you can visit vineyards where they often sell their bottles at a lower price.
You will also be able to taste the wine, so there is little risk of wasting money on a bottle you do not like.
There are, however, certain large producers in Bordeaux that sell their wine at higher prices than you will find at the caviste, so it might be best to target smaller vineyards.
A number of websites also allow you to order online, directly from producers.
Buy before it is bottled
For further discounts, you can order wine en primeur – while it is still in barrels and will be delivered around two years later.
These sales are a Bordeaux tradition which usually takes place in May, for the previous year’s harvest, although other regions are gradually following the example.
You can find wines for around 30% less than when they hit the shelves.
Not just for collectors
The system is particularly attractive for collectors looking to secure a rare bottle, but anybody can participate.
This is not to be confused with a vin primeur – a wine that can be sold the same year the grapes were harvested, the most famous being Beaujolais nouveau.
There are a number of specialist websites where you can order wines en primeur, such as Millesima, Château Primeur, and Wine and Co.
Do remember, though, that the prices listed do not include VAT.
A brief guide to French wine regions
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