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Bordeaux City Bond challenges UK warehouses


The launching in Bordeaux of a new system for the storage of fine wines is a response to the demands of Asian-based traders as well as French export companies

Industry studies showed that an increasing number of big buyers looking for goods storage capabilities close to wine-making sites that could guarantee an optimal ageing environment were frustrated by the lack of any such resource.

With unfavourable comparisons being drawn with the UK – which has had a sophisticated bonded warehouse industry servicing this requirement for many years – the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Bordeaux, in conjunction with Vinexpo and a consortium of companies within the freight/logistics and warehousing sectors, moved quickly to redress the balance in order to provide a resource capable of servicing a vine and wine export market worth €6 billion.

Working closely with the government customs and tax departments, a private company, Bordeaux City Bond, has been formed to enable fine wines purchased from several European wine regions in a centrally located geographical area providing rail, truck and maritime shipping services, all in one centralised warehouse facility.

The co-operation required between all parties was fast-tracked and took only nine months. The Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce’s has a 41% stake in the company, Vinexpo 10% and the remaining 49% held by a diverse group of trading and service companies in the sector.

The result is a state-of-the-art warehousing facility offering the most modern traceability and guaranteed authenticity with a storage capacity of 400,000 cases charged at €6.00 per case, per annum.

“Bordeaux City Bond meets the urgent needs of professionals within the wine and spirits business. It moves us in the direction of greater flexibility and creates an effective channel for French exports,” commented Robert Beynat in his joint capacity as a member of CCI Bordeaux and chief executive of Vinexpo.

The benefit of less travelled wines with their intrinsic better value that Bordeaux City Bond can offer will not be lost on export businesses, in addition to the savings costs in transportation and geographically far-flung, non-specialist storage. The Bordeaux model will be examined closely by other French vine and wine regions that have yet to offer this service in a potential roll-out programme that may pose a real challenge to the UK bonded warehouse industry.


1 June 2009 - Felicity Murray