California stars

California stars

Because wine is so sought after by collectors, the prices of the finest bottles are rising. Not only in classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, but also outside Europe. We zoom in on California, where waiting lists for famous cult wines are longer than ever. - TEXT + IMAGE EDITORS

Californian wines have risen sharply in price, the global marketplace and also gauge of the wine trade Liv-ex (London International Vintners Exchange) shows. Cult wine Screaming Eagle takes the crown. In the previous issue of WINELIFE, we showed by means of Liv-ex that there is an insatiable appetite for buying worldwide, so that wine even outperforms gold. Now we zoom in on the California 50 index. That is a component of Liv-ex that tracks the average price trend of the five top local wines Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Dominus, Opus One and Ridge Monte Bello. In 2021, this index increased by a whopping 32 per cent! For instance, Screaming Eagle vintage 2010 still had a market price of around €4,500 (for 3 bottles of 75 centilitres) in the year 2013 but now the wine is listed for €14,500.

Cult wines

In the 1980s, Napa Valley saw the rise of mainly Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet blends produced in minuscule quantities and sold for high prices. Wineries like Screaming Eagle, Harlan, Dalla Valle and Colgin had long waiting lists to buy the wines direct from the beginning. Screaming Eagle's success began with the discerning eye of local broker Jean Philips. He acquired select plots in Oakville and established vineyards with a mix of Bordeaux varieties and some Sauvignon Blanc.



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