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8910 Sonoma Highway 12
Kenwood, CA 95452
(in the Kenwood Village Plaza)


21684 8th Street East, Suite 460
Sonoma, CA 95476

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Sonoma, CA 95476

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The Tradition of Ty Caton Wine Futures

The Tradition of Ty Caton Wine Futures
September 29, 2020 Ty Caton

Each year at Ty Caton, our customers enjoy an opportunity to purchase wine futures at our Annual Barrel Tasting Event, held every October. Offering wine futures, traditionally known as en primeur, is the purchasing of wines that are still in barrels before they’re bottled and released. We are looking forward to hosting you at the winery on Saturday, October 2nd for our 13th Annual Barrel tasting, where we will continue our tradition of offering futures to our customers.

Ty Caton Annual Barrel Tasting Ty Caton Wine Barrels

What Makes Wine Futures Special

As a consumer, purchasing futures can be risky yet highly exciting – less risky and more exciting if you do so from reputable and consistent producers like Ty Caton. It can take between 18 and 24 months for them to become available to you – a gift that arrives on your doorstep the moment you forget about it. There are a few benefits to purchasing futures:

  • Consumers get first access to wines of limited quantities, especially in favorable vintages.
  • Consumers can purchase wines at the best price, increasing their value.
  • It’s an opportunity to invest in your favorite wineries, helping to fund harvests and operational costs.
  • Buying wines en primeur ensures your wines arrive in the best possible condition! They’ve been stored in cool cellars and shipped directly to you, reducing exposure to the elements and improper storage.

The History of En Primeur

The tradition of buying futures dates back to at least 58 A.D., where every grape from the vineyard was purchased while still on the vine. This practice gained traction in the 18th century. When trade relations resumed between Britain and France after one of their many wars, the British came up with the idea of buying French wine en primeur to finance wine production in France. French wine producers received advance payment to fund their harvests and cover operational costs and the British ensured they’d have French wine to drink.

This tradition continued for centuries in Bordeaux – even Thomas Jefferson participated in it! In the spring following harvest, wines were tasted out of the barrel and given a preliminary score that influences the en primeur price. The wines were first offered to courtiers, or brokers, who took a small percentage, and then to négociants, or shippers, who then set a new price for the wines. Today, the practice of purchasing futures has become popular in the Napa Valley, the Rhône Valley, Burgundy, and Italy. In Napa, wineries offer futures direct-to-consumer instead of going through courtiers and négociants.

Can’t make it to Sonoma Valley for the in-person event?  We will also be hosting a virtual futures sale with 50% off case purchases of our 2020 vintage red wines and our 2021 Rosé wines. To learn more about the 2020 vintage and the wines we are crafting, as well as news on the upcoming Barrel Tasting and Futures Sale, make sure you join our mailing list.

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