The USA’s impact on the fine wine market has increased significantly over the past decade. It was once a minority player. Now its producers, importers, and retailers, play a key role on Liv-ex.
Back in 2011, less than 1% of wine sold on Liv-ex went to American buyers. Today, nearly a third of purchasing is driven by businesses in the USA. This makes it the second largest buyer on Liv-ex after the UK, which accounts for just over a third of buying.
Purchasing by US merchants has increased steadily each year over the last 10 years. The exception was in 2020, when buying dipped after heavy tariffs were levied on imports of many European wines. These tariffs have now been lifted, encouraging trade to bounce back – and higher.
This growth has been fueled by increased awareness of Liv-ex as a source of reliable, well-priced European stock. Adoption of trading automation, which facilitates multi-channel selling, by several US members, has also contributed.
One case study shows how a US member has used Liv-ex to increase sales by 25% in a single year, while reducing its inventory by 80% over a four-year period.
Increased demand for US wine
Over the same period, demand for US wine has been rising. It now accounts for over 8% of trade by value – a similar level to Champagne. Back in 2011, the USA made up just a fraction of a percent.
Iconic California brands Screaming Eagle, Scarecrow, Opus One, and Harlan Estate have been the most traded. However, wine from 27 different AVAs traded in 2020, suggesting there’s now a much broader global market for American wines.
This is also reflected in the growing number of American wines that have an LWIN (Liv-ex Wine Identification Number). These seven or 11-digit numbers, which act like an ISBN for wine, allow information about wine to be transferred seamlessly between systems.
To date, nearly 14,000 different US labels have an LWIN. These come from 252 different AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), highlighting the breadth of interest in American wine among fine wine traders.
Support in the USA
Several initiatives have been put in place to support this increased activity. Members can now trade on Liv-ex in US dollars, which makes transactions easier, and eliminates currency risk.
From this month, a new collection service is available to California-based members. For a low, flat fee, wine sold on the global marketplace can be collected from across the state and shipped internationally. Liv-ex handles the export paperwork.
Liv-ex recently presented to members of the National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR). Its members can access a 50% discount on the Liv-ex joining fee.
Liv-ex also has a full-time representative in the USA. Christopher Diehl, a Business Development Manager, is based in New York. Chris is available to answer questions from US businesses interested in Liv-ex membership. You are welcome to request a call with our US team to find out more.