California: production versus price

This week’s listed section looks at the five most expensive Californian wines. Unsurprisingly, the list comprises five cult Napa reds, all with small annual productions helping to fuel a healthy supply and demand ratio that keeps consumers thirsty and wanting more.

Top 5 Californian most expensive image

Leading the way is Screaming Eagle, averaging c.7,800 bottles per year. At £2,450 per bottle, it is the 12th most expensive wine in Wine Lister’s database, just £27 below DRC La Tâche.

Harlan, the third highest-rated Californian wine overall, has an average annual production of c.21,600 bottles, and is the region’s second most expensive wine. At £638, it is available at nearly a quarter of the price of Screaming Eagle.

The next three wines all have lower production volumes than Harlan. At £509, Scarecrow has a similar price point to the likes of Lafite (£522) and Masseto (£524). Fourth-placed Grace Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon achieves a Wine Lister score of 712, considerably lower than the others, but again low production volumes (c.6,000 bottles a year) help it to achieve its hefty price tag of £474. Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon fills the fifth spot at £460 per bottle.

Produced on far greater scales than these five, Dominus and Ridge Monte Bello, Wine Lister’s two overall top-scoring Californian wines, do not make the top five most expensive. The trendline on the chart below confirms the negative correlation between price and production:

Californian production vs price image

Remember that even if you don’t currently have a Wine Lister subscription you can access all the underlying data behind these five wines as well as those featured in other Top 5s, giving you an insight into the wealth of tools at our subscribers’ disposal.

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