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Which are the most popular Californian wines?  

What’s happening in the market? 

After close of play on Tuesday, Bordeaux’s share jumped to 50.3% of regional trade by value thanks to Château Lafite Rothschild 1998 changing hands at £6,000 per case, 17.8% below its Market Price of £7,300 per 12×75. The region’s share is also buoyed by Pétrus 2019, 2009 and 2010 trading.  

Champagne lagged behind Bordeaux with 17.3% of regional trade, followed by Burgundy with 13.3% of the total. Tuscany saw a further marginal uptick in activity to hold 8.9% of the total trade by value buoyed by Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia 2020 and 2019 changing hands.  

Today’s deep-dive: The most popular Californian wines 

The California 50 was one of the few indices to experience a positive movement in October, increasing by 0.3%. Despite this, the index has recorded a year-to-date decline of 10.1%.  

While the wines within this index continue to be actively traded, there are also noteworthy Californian wines outside of the index that have attracted significant attention. In this update, we explore the most popular Californian wines and identify where opportunities in the region might lie. 

Which Californian wines were the most in-demand in Q3? 

Year-to-date, Opus One stood out as the most-traded US label in terms of value, volume, and number of trades. Therefore, unsurprisingly, in the third quarter, Opus One was the most bid-for and traded by value and volume. Within it, Opus One 2019, 2013 and 2016 took the top three most bid-for spots. 

Interestingly, Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello was the only label within the California 50 that did not secure a position in the top ten most in-demand, searched-for or traded labels by both value and volume in Q3. 

Which Californian wines were the most searched-for on Liv-ex in Q3?

While Opus One dominated most other categories, Harlan Estate claimed the spotlight for the most searched label in the third quarter. However, at LWIN11 level (individual wines), the 2019 and 2018 vintages of Opus One proved most popular. 

Promontory also stood out. The label was not only ranked among the top bid-for brands but also secured positions in the most searched-for and most-traded categories by both value and volume. The 2018 vintage of Promontory, which was scored 100 points by Antonio Galloni and Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, was the third most searched-for wine in Q3, with 459 searches. The wine was then followed by 13 other vintages of Promontory, spanning 2008 to 2022

Which Californian wines were the most traded in Q3? 

When it comes to trading activity, Opus One took the lead in both trade value and volume, with the 2019 and 2018 vintages claiming top positions in terms of both metrics. 

In September this year, Opus One opted for a library release of its 2018 and 2019 vintages through La Place de Bordeaux. The 2018 was re-released at €270 per bottle ex-négociant, and internationally at £3,300 per case, 19.6% above its original international release price and 3.8% above its Market Price at the time. Since then, the wine’s Market Price has dropped to £3,086 per case. 

Likewise, the 2019 was re-released at €265 per bottle ex-négociant and made available internationally for £3,192 per case. At the time, this was slightly under its Market Price of £3,200 per dozen. Since then, the wine has actively traded on the exchange, but has seen its Market Price drop to £3,100 per case.  

Opus One 2019 trades on Liv-ex 

Interestingly, by volume, only two wines within the California 50 made the list, the majority of wines were from outside the index. Kistler, Les Noisetiers, Sonoma Coast 2021 placed just after Opus One, securing the third position in terms of volume, while Dunn, Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain 2018 claimed the fourth spot 

How are Californian wines trading in relation to their Market Price? 

As shown in the graphs above, wines within the California 50 traded at a greater discount to their Market Price in Q3 this year than in 2022. Specifically, in Q3 2022, only 16% of California 50 wines were traded 10% below their Market Price; in Q3 2023, this increased to 43% of cases traded.  

There are currently 1,278 LIVE offers for Californian wines on Liv-ex. Log in to the exchange to view them and trade. Additionally, you can use the new ‘Save to List Studio‘ function to add these wines to a custom list (e.g. a ‘wish list’ or ‘watch list’) which you can return to at any time. 

In case you missed it:  

Here’s what we’ve been reading:  

  • Liv-ex: Which are the most sought-after wines from Italy? 
  • Harpers: Fine wine trading decline slows, but ‘no clear bottom in sight’ says Liv-ex 
  • Reuters: UK economy fails to grow but sidesteps start of a recession 

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 620+ merchant members from across the globe. Together they represent the largest pool of liquidity in the world – currently £100m of bids and offers across 20,000 wines.               

Independent data, direct from the market.