California Gold Rush!

Investors are seeking out rare Californian investment wines that challenge the best of Bordeaux and Burgundy in quality and price performance. Consistent, high-quality vintages endorsed by the world’s top critics and a maturing global distribution network have established Napa’s top brands as rich seams of value in a diversified fine wine portfolio.

Ten facts fine wine investors should know about USA investment wines:

  • The Judgement of Paris” blind wine tasting in 1976 saw Napa out-score top Bordeaux and Burgundies – establishing the reputation of Californian wines
  • Robert Parker helped the global reputation of Screaming Eagle with 1992 vintage
  • Rare Screaming Eagle price performance is similar to top red Burgundies
  • Liv-ex Average Market Price: Screaming Eagle £30,957 / Opus One £2,602 (12 x 75cl)
  • Key Napa wine successes have culminated from partnerships with Bordeaux icons
  • Top USA investment wines such as Opus One are released via La Place de Bordeaux
  • Key releases take place in September each year
  • Californian wild-fires in recent years are impacting wine production and supply
  • Top Napa investment varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot
  • Strong growth in the secondary market in Californian investment wines in 2021Screaming Eagle Wine Bottle Label

Napa is home to almost 90% of the USA investment wines attracting trade in the secondary market and where some of the most expensive wine labels and estates in the world are located.  As a region, California’s price performance on Liv-ex is characterised by stable, low-volatility growth. Liv-ex’s California 50 Index has risen 8.7% YTD to 31 July 2021. The index records the price movements of the last ten physical vintages across five of the most traded brands – Dominus, Harlan Estate, Opus One, Ridge and Screaming Eagle. The index has risen 220% since its inception in 2003.

Top Traded Californian Wines by Value in 2021

Wine Vintage Market Price
Screaming Eagle, Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 £30,420
Scarecrow, Rutherford, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 £7,200
Realm Cellars, Napa Valley, The Bard 2018 £1,400
Spottswoode, St Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 £1,789
Opus One, Napa Valley 2017 £2,653
Harlan Estate, Napa Valley 2016 £10,800
Harlan Estate, Napa Valley 2017 £10,700
Screaming Eagle, Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 £29,959
Schrader, Oakville RBS Beckstoffer to Kalon Vineyard Cab Sav 2018 £2,695
Promontory, Napa Valley 2015 £7,380

Source: Liv-ex California Report, August 2021. Liv-ex  Market Price at 31.07.21  

In 2020 around 200 Californian wines traded on Liv-ex, which has seen a growth in trade from the region of 809% in the last five years. High quality vintages in the last decade (2010, 2013, 2016 and 2018) have attracted increasing attention from the key critics guiding the fine wine market on quality. So far in 2021, California has the highest regional average score by international critics with an impressive number of 100-point wines. The Golden State also accounts for 7% of the value traded on Liv-ex YTD to 31st July 2021 and, after Burgundy, the second highest prices. The Liv-ex California 50 achieved its highest level on record in July 2021.

For more information on investing in Californian fine wine see our Guide to Collecting and Investing in Fine Wine and contact the Vin-X Team on 0203 384 2262