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When the major wine producers of the Bordeaux region launch their latest vintage, they host a huge “Primeurs” party to which the international wine press and the leading brokers are all invited. Before you think that this means that the chateaux owners dip deep into their pockets, I should add that most invitees pick up their own travel costs.

For the pleasure of daily tastings of hundreds of samples of six-month-old unformed wines, they are treated to snacks and bitings on the move (though there are a few quite smart dinners to break the monotony). But then, it’s a bit of a bus driver’s holiday: they are there to work, not to play...

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