For centuries, the most complex and efficient fine wine market system has been La Place de Bordeaux. From its very inception, about 800 years ago, La Place was international, with Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian players operating from a French hub, which for a time was English (from the 12th to 15th centuries).
La Place is a smart system with three tiers: producers, ne?gociants (trade) and courtiers (middlemen who provide trusted reference – the most important feature in any efficient market). Indeed, it deals with the most impressive distribution network in the world, involving more than 10,000 importers in 170 countries.
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For several centuries, La Place was focused on Bordeaux wines, to such an extent that nowadays it manages over 70% of Bordelais wine exports. In the 1990s, some Bordeaux top producers decided to make fine wines overseas. La Place was the obvious way to sell them, offering a win-win approach, as it could benefit ne?gociants, too.