As tasting sessions for the primeurs 2002 begin, the prices of Bordeaux wines look set to fall heavily for the second year running. This despite good overall quality and relatively low quantities.

After the flare-up in prices for primeurs in 2000, partly fuelled by the millennium effect, last year saw prices fall by between 20 and 40% depending on the AOC and the brand.

Market analysts expect a similar trend to emerge this year given the stagnation in the trade, the slide in the dollar against the euro, the slump in stock prices and the war in Iraq. Bordeaux wines trade association, the UIVB, points to "the economic reality which everyone must take into account."

However, views differ on the scale of the fall in prices for primeurs 2002. Some say there is scope for a cut of up 40 % on last year. One St Emilion trader sees prices returning to the levels of 1995-96 while another expects them to remain stable on 2001.