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Wine tasting in California. Glass of red wine and vineyards.

Californian Gold: Why you should be drinking Golden State wines

By Daniel Eros Carnio on 20th March 2019

Daniel Eros Carnio, the founder and director of Oenofuture, looks at why you should be drinking Golden State wines in 2019.

Traditionally drinking fine wine has always been associated with top Bordeaux chateaus, pricey Burgundy from producers farming a few acres of vines, or robust Ports that can age for decades. Times are a changing, though, as more and more wine connoisseurs realise the exceptional quality wines available beyond the borders of France, or Europe for that matter.

The Judgement of Paris

One go-to region for those in the know is California. Ever since the legendary “Judgement of Paris” in 1976 when Californian wines beat the French at a blind tasting heldin Paris, Americans have known the true value of their top producers. It’s taken the rest of the world a little longer to catch up, but these days premium Californian wines are hot property on both sides of the pond thanks to top-notch winemaking expertise, cutting-edge technology and a spot of good weather.

Vineyards landscape in California, USA
One go-to region for those in the know is California

Excellent Vintages

One key reason for the uplift in the Californian wine market is a recent run of excellent vintages. 2012 to 2015 provided the Golden State with several years of ideal weather conditions which helped to produce wines with exceptional flavour profiles which should age and develop very well in the cellar.

These conditions were especially favourable in Napa Valley, Sonoma and the Santa Cruz mountains, so look out for wines from these areas from 2012 to 2015 when deciding which Californian wines to sample. Good quality wines from these areas will prove especially ageworthy and will probably need a decade or so to mature and become ready to drink.

Investment Opportunity

As well as making for great drinking, Californian wines are also an excellent choice for investment when chosen carefully. According to the global fine wine merchant BI Wines & Spirits, in the first half of 2018 U.S. wine sales rocketed 97% compared with the first half of 2017.

Sunny day for a Temecula California wine tasting country
As well as making for great drinking, Californian wines are also an excellent choice for investment when chosen carefully

The impressive global appetite for top Californian wines is also reflected on the fine wine auction market. A highlight of 2018 was the sale of a 43-bottle lot by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for an impressive US$149,007.

Wine Enthusiast listed a total of three Californian wines on their top 10 Cellar Selections for 2018. Those making the cut were 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.

If you do plan to add a little Californian sunshine to your investment portfolio, it is well worth seeking out expert advice from a specialist fine wine investment company who will be able to guide you and facilitate sourcing, purchasing and storage of your wines to maximise the profitability of your investment.