Why now is the moment to invest in Californian wine


There’s never been a better moment to invest in wines from the Golden State. Thanks to a run of exceptional vintages and growing demand from open-minded collectors keen to branch out from Old World classics, today fine wines from California are a serious investment option for those seeking excellent returns.

According to global fine wine merchant BI Wines & Spirits, in the first half of 2018 their sales of wines from the US soared by 97% compared with the same time period the previous year. Californian wines are also performing strongly at auction, with a 43-bottle lot of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon bringing in US$149,007 at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong last year.

Another key metric of the growing demand for Calfornian wine is the California 50 index which was launched by Liv-ex last year. The index tracks the last 10 vintages of the five most-traded Californian wines on Liv-ex which are currently Screaming Eagle, Opus One, Dominus, Harlan Estate, and Ridge Monte Bello.

Liv-ex reported that the new California 50 was actually the best performing of their indices over the 12 months from July 2017, gaining an impressive 15.8%. The fine wine exchange added that had the index been in existence since 2003, it would have tripled in value over the past 15 years.

One factor contributing to the rise of Californian fine wines is the recent run of excellent vintages from 2012 to 2015. According to Decanter’s William Kelley, ideal conditions during summer and early autumn produced “wines of extraordinary depth and tannic concentration, built for the ages”. Especially blessed were Napa, Sonoma, and the Santa Cruz mountains where the best wines are remarkably ageworthy and will require at least a decade in the cellar before they are mature and ready to drink.

Californian wines also featured heavily on Wine Enthusiast’s top 10 Cellar Selections for 2018. The 2013 Alpha Omega Bordeaux blend from Napa Valley, the 2015 Kistler Cuvee Cathleen Chardonnay from Sonoma, and the 2016 Jackson Estate Outland Ridge Pinot Noir from Mendocino County all made the list of top investment wines.

There can be little doubt that today Californian wines offer serious investment potential with demand continuing to rise with each new vintage. For those prepared to branch out from more traditional fine wine regions like Bordeaux or Burgundy, adding a dose of Californian sunshine to your collection is an excellent way to diversify and acquire wines with serious investment potential.

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