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Fine wine buying trends in the USA

  • Year-to-date, the USA is the second biggest market for fine wine after the UK, based on the number and value of trades.
  • Over 3,500 different wines have gone to US buyers since the start of the year.
  • Regional buying patterns have been more evenly split than in other markets, with Champagne, the Rhône, Tuscany, California and Piedmont accounting for 9%-11% each.

Year-to-date, the USA has been the second biggest buyer of fine wine after the UK, when it comes to the number and value of trades. Over 3,500 different wines (LWIN11s) across 53 regions have been bought by US wine businesses on Liv-ex.

The USA has emerged as one of the most diverse markets when it comes to regional trade. While Bordeaux (28.0%) and Burgundy (19.3%) are the most heavily represented regions, their trade share in the USA is lower than in other markets such as Asia or the UK.

The share between the rest has been more evenly split. Piedmont is the third most traded fine wine region (10.6%), followed by California (9.8%), revealing a big home market (see most traded wines below). The Rhône, Tuscany and Champagne each account for about 9% of the market.

In the USA, trade for the ‘others’ is dominated by Australia (1.5%), Germany (1.2%), the UK (1%), Chile (0.8%) and Spain (0.7%).

Californian wines lead the rankings of the most traded wines

Californian wines lead the rankings of the most traded wines by value in the USA. Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, which boasts 100-points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW (at the time, The Wine Advocate) and 99-points from Antonio Galloni (Vinous), is in the top spot. It is followed by the 2019 vintage of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, while the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc from the same producer falls in fourth place.

The value rankings are evenly split between wines from the New World (represented by California and Chile) and the Old World (Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhône and Tuscany).

Notably, Chilean wine Seña 2017 features in both the value (9th place) and volume (2nd place) rankings. The wine has 99-points from James Suckling and a current Market Price of £812 per 12×75 case.

Increased demand for wines from the Rhône

The volume rankings, however, are dominated by the Rhône, which takes six out of the top 10 spots. Domaine de la Janasse and E. Guigal emerged as the most in-demand producers in the USA in the first half of 2022.

As examined in our 2020 report, The Rhône – Solid as a Rock, the USA is the biggest market for Rhône wines. The region’s otherwise stubbornly low trade share (4.6% of global trade) more than doubles across the pond.

The reasons for this have been manifold, such as the impact of dedicated Rhône critics from the USA, first Robert Parker and now Jeb Dunnuck, and a slew of excellent vintages that have appealed to the quality-conscious US buyer.

Looking for more on fine wine’s performance in H1 2022?

 

Liv-ex analysis is drawn from the world’s most comprehensive database of fine wine prices. The data reflects the real time activity of Liv-ex’s 600 merchant members from across the globe. Together they represent the largest pool of liquidity in the world – currently £100m of bids and offers across 16,000 wines. Independent data, direct from the market.

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