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California crests a West Coast wave on Liv-ex

Published:  16 February, 2022

The number of Californian wines traded on Liv-ex has risen almost 480% over the last five years to reach a record high.

The results mean California took 7.5% of the Liv-ex market value last year, as the number of wines traded surpassed the 500 mark for the first time (504 in total). 

Prices for the California 50 index increased by 32% in 2021 – Screaming Eagle was the best-performing estate, up 42% over the same period.

High quality and heightened demand have led to rising prices. As a result, the California 50 index, which tracks the price performance of five of the state’s leading labels, outperformed the industry benchmark Liv-ex 100 (24.6%) and the broadest measure of the market, Liv-ex 1000 (22.3%), in 2021.

Bar the Champagne 50 and Burgundy 150, The California 50 index also fared better than most regional Liv-ex 1000 sub-indices.

Meanwhile, California’s total market share (by value) has climbed from 0.1% to 7.9% over the past decade, making it the fourth most-traded fine wine region after Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. The refined taste of its wines combined with effective branding and expanded distribution has contributed to its secondary market success.

California has enjoyed increasing global demand as the region with the highest number of 100-point wines in 2021. Even more notable has been the emergence of an active US market (on the buy-side) for its wines. This rising demand prompted Liv-ex to launch a weekly stock collection service to members across the Golden State last year, facilitating trade.