The decision to cancel Bordeaux en primeur tasting week comes amid wider concerns about the spread of coronavirus and new restrictions on public gatherings in France.
It was due to take place between 30 March and 2 April, but the event’s organiser, the Union des Grands Crus (UGCB), has told merchants that the event will be suspended.
In an email to Bordeaux négociants, the UGCB said that its teams were ‘working on solutions that will allow us to taste the 2019 vintage a later date’. It said that the suspension was in response to exceptional circumstances.
Thousands of journalists, merchants, retailers and wine critics from around the world attend the annual Bordeaux en primeur week, which involves tasting barrel samples of the new vintage. Around 6,000 visitors attended last year’s event, to taste the 2018 vintage.
The move to cancel the event follows a raft of postponement decisions across the wine world in recent weeks, with the Prowein trade show in Germany and the annual Burgundy tasting week, Grands Jours de Bourgogne, among those called off.
The UGCB said in a statement, ‘We would like to thank all industry professionals – négociants, buyers, journalists, and wine enthusiasts – who, once again this year, were planning to attend this event.
‘We are sure that, given the current situation, everyone will understand and agree with our decision.’
It also thanked all of those who had worked to organise the event.
Concerns about the spread of the new strain of coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, had already prompted France to announce a ban on public gatherings of more than 1,000 people earlier this week.
That number has since been cut to 100, and president Emmanuel Macron has said the country’s schools and universities will close.
Several other countries affected by Covid-19 have also announced measures to try to limit the spread of the virus, and so relieve pressure on health services.
Much of Italy has been placed in lockdown, president Trump has announced a ban on flights to the US from mainland Europe, and many sports events have been cancelled – including a suspension of the English Premier League.
Update 14:00 UK time on 13/03/20 with UGCB statement.
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Source: Chris Mercer