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Arranging a Primeurs Visit

Two different methods of arranging a visit during the primeurs tasting week in Bordeaux.

Method One:

I send an email requesting an appointment at 10 am on Tuesday morning.
I receive a reply confirming my appointment with a cheery “see you soon!”.

Method Two:

I send an email requesting an appointment at 11 am on Tuesday morning.

I receive an email explaining that the programme for the primeurs hasn’t been settled yet. The time will probably be OK, but I must wait until they begin organising the week’s schedule.

A few weeks later I receive an email confirming an appointment at 11 am, but that I should wait for a subsequent email inviting me to participate in the online appointment registration system, otherwise my appointment won’t be included on the schedule.

A further few weeks later I receive a formal email inviting me to click a link to participate in the online appointments system. I follow the link, where I have to fill in an online form, name, address, email, telephone, publications, gender, sexual preferences, etc. (I may have made some of these up). I make it through to a “form submitted” page which informs me that a confirmation email has been sent.

Shortly afterwards I receive a confirmation email, again agreeing the date and time of my appointment, the same date and time as was agreed in the email from the château over a month beforehand. The email informs me I will now receive an official invitation, which I should look out for. Which of course I do.

Several weeks later I receive an official invitation again by email. This document needs to be printed out to be presented at the château. Without presenting the scannable code on the invitation, again I am warned I will not be received.

The various châteaux of Bordeaux are of course entitled to organise themselves and their primeurs week as they see fit. My only points are as follows. Firstly, I much prefer the first system, for its simplicity. Secondly, the primeurs week now features thirty or forty châteaux appointments alongside the larger tastings, and if I had to jump through all these hoops for all of these appointments it seems inevitable that things would go wrong. I employ an assistant to do administrative work on Winedoctor, but they only do a few hours each week, and together we are grateful that most châteaux follow the first system and not the second!

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