Because of the limited ingredients and growing conditions for the grapes, wine is one of the toughest draughts to make well and, and the most highly touted of vintages have sold for gargantuan amounts of money over the decades.
Adding to the delicate and intricate process and the weather conditions playing magic (or wreaking havoc) with the grape vines is the condition that time plays in the process. Great wine can be accentuated to a state of near euphoria for the proverbial palate by shelving it in a cool place and letting father time stir the ingredients and extend the fermentation adding to the robust flavors.
Because of this collectors and wine drinkers alike covet particularly good years of wine, and when a rare bottle is kept on the shelf as its brothers and sisters and emptied over the months and years can make for a perfect storm of damn good and extraordinarily expensive selling wine.
Here are the five most expensive bottles of wine in the world:
Chiming in at number three is a bottle of champagne that was salvaged from a Swedish Freighter off the coast of Finland in 1998, the 1907 Heidsieck, which sold at numerous auctions and brought in as much as £163,000 (or $275,000 US). The kicker here, folks is that 2,000 of these bottles were recovered, but the story of the commissioned ship destined for the Imperial Court of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia that had been torpedoed by a German Submarine in World War I adds significant historical significance to the 100-plus year old flavor.
The 1947 French Cheval-Blanc is widely recognized as the most expensive sold bottle of vino in history at $304,375 (see the next wine for the asterisk* explanation). In 2010, the 67-year-old bottle was sold to a private collector at a Christies auction in Geneva. According to the Classification of Saint-Emilion wine, the Cheval Blanc has a class A status [and] … of all the merlot wines, there are only two which were granted with this classification. The grapes were said to be legendary between April and October of 1947, and the survivor bottle that outlived many a person is the only known bottle in the Imperial format from this particular Saint-Emilion vintage.
The most expensive wine ever sold is the exception to the dated rule of rare wine, as it was not even a decade old at the time of purchase; the six liter Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 bottle sold for a whopping half a million bucks (that’s right, folks, $500,000) in 2000 at a Napa Valley charity auction! It was only available for a limited time in 1995, and apparently was the cat’s meow, at least to one wine connoisseur out there, because it is rumored Chase Bailey, a former Cisco Systems executive, picked this up, though we have an asterisk* here (unlike Major League Baseball’s home run record book), because the $500K bottle was knocked down a bit in price because it was a charity sale, although it could still have sold for more than any other wine in history.
This is not only the most expensive bottle of Burgundy ever sold but is the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold. It was purchased by a collector in 2018 at a Sotheby’s sale in New York of the estate of Robert Drouhin, one of the most notable men in Burgundy. The vineyard of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti are renowned throughout Burgundy and embraced as the highest quality standard of the notable wine. There were only 600 bottles made of the 1945 vintage, which is actually heralded as “the unicorn vintage” hence why it smashed every record for the most expensive wine ever purchased.
When will we see a bottle of red go for the fabled one million dollars? The highest price of wine is ever evolving.