I wrote this story for Decanter yesterday, but there has been a lot of interest, and I thought I would write a fuller version here:

http://www.decanter.com/news/284790.html

'A bonded warehouse, that will enable overseas buyers to store their wine tax-free for an unlimited amount of time in a secure controlled environment, will be launched in Bordeaux next week, the first of its kind in France.

bordeaux city bond

The venture, Bordeaux City Bond, has been made possible because of a change in the law which is due to announced at Vinexpo next Monday by Jerome Fournel, the director of the French customs service. The current laws state that no wine can be stored for longer than two years (with one year’s grace period) in a commercial warehouse in France, but this is due to be scrapped, allowing storage for unlimited time under certain conditions.

Bordeaux City Bond will be a private independent company, but has investors from key sections of the wine industry. The main investors are the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce (41%) and Vinexpo (10%); between them representing 51% of the board. The other 49% is shared between 12 negociant companies, four supply chain companies and one bank - Credit Agricole d'Aquitaine.

The negociant companies are:
Maison Sichel
Yvon Mau
Joanne (who incidentally have their own bonded warehouse also, called Chateaux Bond, that will also benefit from the new laws)
Bernard Magrez
Johnston et Fils
Dubosc
Millesime
Compagnie Medocaine
JJ Mortier
Veyret Latour
Duclot
(hmmm, and one other, sorry!)

Bordeaux City Bond will be ready for business from June 22nd, 2009, headed up by Philippe Dunoguier, who comes from a background of both chateaux and negociants including Bernard Magrez and Chateau Loudenne, and Jean Claude Lasserre, the former head of customs in Bordeaux.

‘This is not just for storage of Bordeaux wines,’ Dunoguier said, ‘but for Bordeaux investors in particular it will provide an excellent guarantee of provenance which is increasingly important when trading wine through auction houses.’

Customers of Bordeaux City Bond can be private individuals from outside of Europe, or wine merchant businesses from anywhere in the world, Europe included.

‘With the difficult economic conditions right now,’ said Lasserre, ‘it seems even more important for us to show our faith in the future of Bordeaux as a fine wine centre, and in the future of fine wine as a whole.’

The exact location of the warehouse is being decided upon today. They hope in the future to build a 'Fort Knox of Wine' specifically for the company, but for now it is being outsourced into an existing facility that will follow their quality charter of temperature control, traceability, privacy, security and so on.