Advance order or obligation to buy a wine before it has been bottled or, in extreme cases, even before the grape harvest (French sur souche: from the vine = vine). The term "futures" is also used in English (meaning "future trading"). The aim is to secure special wines that are cheaper than those traded afterwards in normal wine trading. This is particularly popular in times of strong demand for very good vintages from generally well-known producers. This is especially common for the Cru-Classé-Wines of Bordeaux for entire vintages, but is also increasingly used by other wineries, which produce so-called garage wines (special wines of often excellent quality in often very small quantities). As a prerequisite for pre-ordering, professional tastings and wine evaluations of the young wines are carried out before bottling.
This trade with extremely young wines (i.e. not the barrel sample itself) is called "en primeur" in French. The barrel tasting (en-primeur tasting) is carried out by buyers, importers, journalists and tasters. On the basis of these reports, past experience and some speculation, it is assumed that the wine will be of a quality corresponding to the price. Through the mediation of Courtiers (brokers), the wines are taken over by the Négociants (trading houses) in the year after the harvest and sold by advance order. At this time at the latest, the order and payment must be made by the buyers, although VAT is not charged until delivery. Delivery is then made one or two years later and is known as Arrivage (arrival). Six months after production, the quality of the finished wine cannot of course be judged beyond any doubt, but can only be guessed at, which is why there is a certain risk with subscription purchases. See also under Bordeaux wine trade