The first cases of wine are expected to arrive at the storage facility this week (June).
Before now, French customs regulations have not permitted tax free storage, so wines have been shipped to countries outside France, notably the UK and other north European markets. But the recruitment of a former head of French customs assisted in BCB surmounting the administrative obstacles preventing such activity.
BCB is a partnership owned 41% by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce (CCI) and 10% by Vinexpo, with the remaining 49% split between four logistics companies, 12 negociants (including Yvon Mau, Bernard Magrez, Maison Sichel and Dubos) and the Credit Agricole d’Aquitaine bank.
CCI president Dominique Babin said: “Speaking to some contacts in Hong Kong, we were told that it was strange that it was simpler to store wines in other countries while formalities were completed. We decided to see how we could correct this disadvantage.”
Among the benefits of bonded storage in Bordeaux, Babin added, are security and traceability; ideal, controlled conditions for long-term ageing; and reduced carbon emissions due to less movement of stock. In addition, the new customs regulations for the first time permit shipping direct to private individuals.
After being put out to tender, the contract for the storage was awarded to Groupe Tesson. The company’s president, Jean Tesson, said: “Further to this innovation in Bordeaux, we are hoping to create a network of similar operations in [other regions of] France.”
Tesson’s initial 5000 sqm facility will house up to 400,000 9-litre cases, with three others in reserve. Initial costs for storage are “being finalized”, but are estimated to start at Euros 6 per case per year.